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PERSISTENCE, STAGE THEORY AND SPEAKING LOOSELY

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Author(s): Crawford L. Elder

Journal: Annales Philosophici
ISSN 2067-3159

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 18;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Stage Theory | endurantism | perdurantism | persistence

ABSTRACT
What are the truth-makers for the claims we make about the ways familiar objects persist across change?“Stage theory” has come to be recognized as an alternative to endurantism and perdurantism. It locates the truth-makers in properties possessed by momentary object-stages and in relations between suitably propertied object-stages. This paper argues that stage theory needs tightening up: momentary stages are too short to possess by themselves the requisite properties, and relations to other stages cannot remedy the defect. Fixing this problem requires reconstruing stage theory. It then is the position that all claims of persistence are true only when we are speaking loosely; in philosophical strictness, nothing persists. What stage theory then endangers is neither endurantism nor perdurantism—these now have no subject-matter—but recent efforts to argue that the essence/accident distinction is as objective as persistence itself. But even reconstrued stage theory fails.
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