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Author ORCID Identifier
Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Contemporary metaphysics is dominated by the view that every object belongs to a kind permanently in the sense that it cannot cease to belong to that kind without thereby ceasing to exist. For example, some philosophers think that a person is destroyed if they cease to be a person, a statue is destroyed if it ceases to be a statue, and so on.
I believe that this standard view is false. Being a person, or a statue, or etc., is like being a child: just as I did not cease to exist when I ceased to be a child, so people and statues need not cease to exist when they cease to be people and statues. Borrowing a term from Daniel Korman (who uses it in a similar but perhaps not identical way), I call this view phasalism because it entails that the kind-properties which ordinary objects instantiate are phase sortal properties, i.e., kind-properties that an object can instantiate for a temporary phase of its career.
This dissertation is a partial defense of phasalism. I develop a phasalist metaphysics in detail, highlighting its virtues and rebutting objections along the way. After some stage-setting (Chapter 1), I defend a phasalist criterion of identity over time for ordinary objects (Chapter 2), as well as a phasalist account of the role that sortal properties play in the identity over time of ordinary objects (Chapter 3). Then I defend a phasalist-friendly approach to the identity over time of lumps, hunks, pieces, etc. of matter (Chapter 4). The material in these chapters amounts to a phasalist solution to certain material coincidence puzzles, such as the puzzle of the statue and the piece of clay. I go on to show that familiar puzzles about undetached parts (Chapter 5) and fission (Chapter 6) can be solved within the confines of my phasalist metaphysics as well.
Mooney, Justin, "All Sortals are Phase Sortals" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations. 2557.
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