<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Carter (William) - On Contingent Identity and Temporal Worms (Theo Todman's Book Collection - Paper Abstracts) </title> <link href="../../TheosStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><link rel="shortcut icon" href="../../TT_ICO.png" /></head> <BODY> <CENTER> <div id="header"><HR><h1>Theo Todman's Web Page - Paper Abstracts</h1><HR></div><A name="Top"></A> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_05/PaperSummary_5885.htm">On Contingent Identity and Temporal Worms</A></th></tr> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../Authors/C/Author_Carter (William).htm">Carter (William)</a></th></tr> <tr><th>Source: Philosophical Studies 41: 213-230, 1982</th></tr> <tr><th>Paper - Abstract</th></tr> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=600><tr><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_05/PaperSummary_5885.htm">Paper Summary</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_05/PapersToNotes_5885.htm">Notes Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF="#ColourConventions">Text Colour-Conventions</a></td></tr></TABLE></CENTER></P> <hr><P><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><u>Author s Introduction</u> <FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Not so long ago it was widely regarded as self-evident that statements of identity may be (on occasion, are) contingently <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P5885_1">true</A></U><SUB>1</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P5885_1"></A>. The burden of proof was then on opponents of <a name="1"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_63.htm">contingent identity</A><SUP>2</SUP>. Today the situation has altered dramatically. Compelling arguments against <a name="2"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_63.htm">contingent identity</A><SUP>3</SUP> seem to have shifted the burden to champions of contingency. To some observers of the scene the weight looks too heavy to bear. </li><li>But this view of the matter is not uncontested. Recently an interesting case in behalf of <a name="3"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_63.htm">contingent identity</A><SUP>4</SUP> was developed by Allen <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P5885_5">Gibbard</A></U><SUB>5</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P5885_5"></A>. Gibbard's argument for contingency rests upon two metaphysical (or logico-metaphysical) principles that are widely rejected. <ul type="disc"><li>One of these assumptions is that ordinary physical objects are four-dimensional entities that are composed of temporal parts or segments. </li><li>The other is that statements of identity across possible worlds (transworld identity statements) are <a name="4"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_10.htm">sortal-relative</A><SUP>6</SUP>. </li></ul></li><li>One may ask whether this metaphysical baggage is necessary for developing a case for <a name="5"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_63.htm">contingent identity</A><SUP>7</SUP>. One of the points I shall try to establish is that <a name="6"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_63.htm">contingent identity</A><SUP>8</SUP> is much more closely tied to the relativity thesis than is generally recognized. </li><li>The point holds both for a 'multi-world' version of contingency and for a 'temporal' (one world) version of contingency. As Gibbard correctly suggests the former rests squarely upon the thesis that transworld statements of identity are <a name="7"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_10.htm">sortal-relative</A><SUP>9</SUP>; as we shall see, the case for temporal contingency rests upon the thesis that diachronic (or 'transtemporal') identity statements are <a name="8"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_10.htm">sortal-relative</A><SUP>10</SUP>. Contingency theorists are not committed to denying that there are 'favored' transworld or transtemporal heir <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P5885_11">lines</A></U><SUB>11</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P5885_11"></A>. They are committed to claiming that transtemporal and/or transworld heir lines are <a name="9"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_10.htm">sortal-relative</A><SUP>12</SUP>. </li><li>There is no reason to think that the case for contingency must rest upon the assumption that ordinary objects are temporal worms. But as we shall see, there is reason to doubt that advocates of a 'temporal worm' metaphysics are in a position to reject a 'multi-world' version of contingency. Since I believe (and argue below) that one cannot even begin to make a case for <a name="10"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_63.htm">contingent identity</A><SUP>13</SUP> without assuming some version of the Geachean thesis that identity is <a name="11"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_10.htm">sortal-relative</A><SUP>14</SUP>, I doubt that temporal worm theorists are in a position to reject the relativity thesis. </li><li>There are impressive arguments against relative <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P5885_15">identity</A></U><SUB>15</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P5885_15"></A>. My suspicion is that we have reason to reject a temporal worm approach to commonplace objects, if these arguments are sound. Of course this can be turned around. There are subtle arguments for saying that in the end we will have to learn to live with temporal <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P5885_16">worms</A></U><SUB>16</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P5885_16"></A>. If these arguments are sound, it may turn out that we will have to learn to live with the idea that identity is <a name="12"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_10.htm">sortal-relative</A><SUP>17</SUP>. </li></ol> </FONT><BR><HR><BR><U><B>In-Page Footnotes</U></B><a name="On-Page_Link_P5885_1"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P5885_1"><B>Footnote 1</B></A></U>: <FONT COLOR = "800080">Cf. David Wiggins's claim that "...there undoubtedly exist <a name="13"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_63.htm">contingent identity</a> statements. 'Identity statements', in: <em>Analytical Philosophy</em>, second series, ed. by R. J. Butler (Oxford, 1965), pp. 40-7. </FONT><a name="On-Page_Link_P5885_5"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P5885_5"><B>Footnote 5</B></A></U>: <FONT COLOR = "800080"><ul type="disc"><li><a name="14"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_00/Abstract_444.htm">Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity</A>" (1975). </li><li>See also <a name="15"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_20/Abstract_20293.htm">Hacking (Ian) - On the Reality of Existence and Identity</A>" (1978). </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P5885_11"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P5885_11"><B>Footnote 11</B></A></U>: <FONT COLOR = "800080">See David Kaplan's 'Transworld heir lines', in <em>The Possible and the Actual</em>, ed. by Michael J. Loux (Cornell, 1979), pp. 94-95. </FONT> <a name="On-Page_Link_P5885_15"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P5885_15"><B>Footnote 15</B></A></U>: <FONT COLOR = "800080">For a start, see <ul type="disc"><li><a name="16"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_05/Abstract_5398.htm">Perry (John) - The Same F</A>" (1970), pp. 181-200; </li><li><a name="17"></a>"<A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20294.htm">Nelson (Jack) - On the Alleged Incompleteness of Certain Identity Claims</A>" (1973); and </li><li><a name="18"></a>"<A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20295.htm">Feldman (Fred) & Geach (Peter) - Geach and Relative Identity [with Rejoinder and Reply]</A>" (1969). </li></ul> </FONT> <a name="On-Page_Link_P5885_16"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P5885_16"><B>Footnote 16</B></A></U>: <FONT COLOR = "800080">See <a name="19"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_04/Abstract_4763.htm">Cartwright (Richard) - Scattered Objects</A>" (1975). </FONT> <BR><BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR></P><a name="ColourConventions"></a><p><b>Text Colour Conventions (see <A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1025.htm">disclaimer</a>)</b></p><OL TYPE="1"><LI><FONT COLOR = "0000FF">Blue</FONT>: Text by me; &copy; Theo Todman, 2018</li><LI><FONT COLOR = "800080">Mauve</FONT>: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); &copy; the author(s)</li></OL> <BR><HR><BR><CENTER> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR><TD WIDTH="30%">&copy; Theo Todman, June 2007 - August 2018.</TD> <TD WIDTH="40%">Please address any comments on this page to <A HREF="mailto:theo@theotodman.com">theo@theotodman.com</A>.</TD> <TD WIDTH="30%">File output: <time datetime="2018-08-02T06:38" pubdate>02/08/2018 06:38:52</time> <br><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1010.htm">Website Maintenance Dashboard</A></TD></TR> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="#Top">Return to Top of this Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="40%"><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1140.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="../../index.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Home Page</A></TD> </TR></TABLE></CENTER><HR> </BODY> </HTML>