HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 22 no. 1 (2021)

TERDURANTISM: A VIABLE THEORY OF PERSISTENCE?

Francis Kenneth P. Raterta

 

Abstract:

Theories of persistence are often motivated on the grounds that they can account for or solve certain problems that accompany persistence as a metaphysical problem. These problems are what I will call the problems of persistence: change, cohabitation, and vagueness. In this paper, I claim that any theory of persistence should be able to account for these problems. Any theory of persistence which fails to do so should be rejected or, at the very least, be seen as unsatisfactory. Kristie Miller introduces a possible contender, terdurantism, which is a “non-perdurantist fourdimensionalism,” as she puts it. This view is attractive because it avoids the usual objections raised against its rivals: perdurantism and endurantism. Miller and I both ultimately argue against the plausibility of terdurantism as a theory of persistence, but our motivations differ. Miller’s argument is based on the presumption that any theory of persistence which is non-perdurantist ultimately fails. She argues that temporal parts are needed in any account of persistence. My argument is based on the “problem-solving” capacity or the ability of the theory to account for the persistence problems. I will argue that terdurantism is not a plausible theory of persistence since it fails to give a viable account of the three problems. By showing the importance of accounting for the three problems — and how a terdurantist position fails to accomplish this — I hope to have convinced the reader that not only is terdurantism an unattractive persistence theory, but any plausible theory of persistence ought to account for the problems.