The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity, and Time

The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity, and Time

E. J. Lowe

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0199244995

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Lowe argues in this fascinating new study that metaphysics should be restored to centrality in philosophy, as the most fundamental form of inquiry, whose findings underpin those of all other disciplines. He portrays metaphysics as charting the possibilities of existence, by identifying the categories of being and the relations between them. He then sets out his own metaphysical system, with which he seeks to answer many of the most vexed questions in philosophy.

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lines I mean that in the absence of a further criterion of identity for lines—assuming that lines are not ‘basic’ objects whose identity is primitive and irreducible—(D2) does not provide a fully informative account of what distinguishes one direction from another.) One-level criteria are not inherently subject to this limitation, which suggests that they may in any case have to be invoked at some stage whenever two-level criteria are themselves invoked. This inevitably provokes a query as to

perspicuous, but I take it to mean, at the very least, that persisting objects do not have temporal parts.) The debate turns, then, on the question of whether or not persisting objects have temporal parts. Unfortunately, the very term ‘temporal part’ has a number of different possible meanings, and is very difficult to clarify in any useful sense. One thing we need to be clear about is that the notion of a temporal part of a 144 Certainly, that is the way in which both David Hume and David Lewis

events do still coexist in another sense, in as much as it is 104 TIME AND PERSISTENCE tenselessly true of all of them that they exist, simpliciter—for, on the tenseless view, ‘e exists at t’ clearly entails ‘e exists’, simpliciter. (If you like, for the tenseless theorist all these events coexist, tenselessly, in the same possible world—the actual world—and differ not at all from one another in respect of their ontological status within that world, but only in respect of their temporal

‘ontologically’ upon anything other than itself is the sense in which it does not depend for its identity upon anything else. Given the intimate relationship between identity and existence, together with the fact that identity-dependence entails ‘weak’ existential dependency (theorem (T5)), it seems entirely appropriate to regard identity-dependence as constituting the ‘strong’ species of existential dependency that we seek. 7 Primitive Substances In this chapter I shall extend my account of

composite object such as our clock or horse were to exist in isolation, it and its component parts—being, ex hypothesi, the sole material occupants of space and time—would then be the very entities upon whose identities the identities of those places and times would themselves depend. But perhaps it will not be so easily granted that the identities of particular places and times have no bearing on the identity of a particular composite object such as a clock or a horse. For, given that different

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