Doctoral thesis

Being in Time: a theory of persistence and temporal location

ContributorsCosta, Damiano
Defense date2014-07-02

In Being in Time I articulate and defend a theory of diachronic identity based on a new account of the relation between objects and time. Traditionally, the relation between objects and time has been considered to be a direct one, analogous to the one they have with space, and accordingly called location. In my dissertation, I argue that this locative approach is metaphysically problematic insofar as it commits us to questionable consequences about the nature of objects or about the metaphysics of location. In particular, the locative approach, depending on how it is specified, requires that objects do not persist, have multiple exact locations, divide into temporal parts, or are extended simples. In place of this locative approach, and drawing from an analysis of our temporal semantics, I put forward an account of the relation between objects and time – transcendentism, to give it a name – according to which this relation is indirect, and has to be analysed in terms of the events in which objects participate. Accordingly, for a object to exist at a time is for it to participate in an event which is located at that time. As such, transcendentism is not yet a theory of persistence – insofar as objects may be in time without persisting, i.e. by existing at an instant alone –. Transcendentism is an open option for every kind of persistence theorist – be one an endurantist, a perdurantist, or an exdurantist –. However, the combination of transcendentism and endurantism may reveal itself to be a semantically grounded and metaphysically fruitful choice. Semantically grounded, insofar as the analysis of our temporal semantics speaks against the locative approach and in favour of endurantism. Metaphysically fruitful, insofar as it allows us to frame a theory of persistence that avoids all questionable consequences mentioned before – a theory according to which objects persist without having temporal parts and without being extended simples or multilocated entities. The dissertation consists of four self-standing chapters in which (i) I systematize and highlight the problematicity of the locative approach, (ii) I put forward and articulate the transcendentist alternative, (iii) I develop a suitable metaphysics of events, and (iv) I reply to five objections that have been moved against the view both in official communications and in print.

  • Metaphysics
  • Persistence
  • Time
  • Endurantism
  • Three-Dimensionalism
  • Location
  • Mereology
  • Temporal Parts
  • Change
  • Events
  • Substances
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - Pro*Doc - Mind and Reality
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - Doc.Mobility - P1GEP1_148781
Citation (ISO format)
COSTA, Damiano. Being in Time: a theory of persistence and temporal location. 2014. doi: 10.13097/archive-ouverte/unige:39024
Main files (1)

Technical informations

Creation07/10/2014 10:20:00 PM
First validation07/10/2014 10:20:00 PM
Update time03/14/2023 9:29:01 PM
Status update03/14/2023 9:29:01 PM
Last indexation01/29/2024 8:12:02 PM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack