Spatially Coinciding Objects
Doepke (Frederick)
Source: Rea - Material Constitution - A Reader
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. This article presents a theory of the (time-variant) "constitution" relation, which obtains between two distinct objects which occupy the same place at the same time.
  2. It explains why pairs of them (eg. a gold statue1 and the gold of the statue2, a person and his or her body) are indiscernible in a variety of logically independent respects, such as place, color, shape, and weight.
  3. It accounts for the formal features – notably, the asymmetry – of the constitution relation. (Recall that identity is symmetrical.)
  4. In rebutting a variety of attempts to subvert David Wiggins' argument that distinct objects can spatially coincide, the article offers the following:
    1. A general argument against relativizing identity (eg. sortally3 or temporally);
    2. Some explanation of the theoretical point of concepts of continuants;
    3. An anti-reductionist argument in favor of admitting constituted objects (eg. organisms) in addition to objects which constitute them (eg. collections of fundamental particles).

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