Substance, Identity and Time
Lowe (E.J.)
Source: Supplement to the Proceedings of The Aristotelian Society 62, 1988, pp. 61-78
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. I claim that there must be some sorts of things whose persistence through time is primitive or ungrounded, with the implication that no criterion of diachronic identity can be supplied for such things.
  2. I argue that to deny that there is anything whose persistence is ungrounded is to imply that everything's persistence may ultimately be accounted for in terms of change, and that this conflicts with the fact that the notion of a change can only be understood by reference to something which persists through that change.

Author’s Abstract
  1. A tomato is sitting on the table. It has been sitting there for the past five minutes. But what makes the tomato that is now sitting there the same tomato as the one that was sitting there five minutes ago?
  2. In what terms might one hope to supply a criterion of diachronic identity for something like a tomato?
  3. Having, I hope, exhausted for the time being the dubious attractions of the property instantiation approach, let us turn next to the temporal parts approach. (Later I will develop a further argument inimical to both of these approaches.)
  4. I turn thirdly, then, to the final approach to diachronic identity that I shall consider – the substantial constituents approach, which I favour (I argue directly in defense of this approach and against the temporal parts approach in "Lowe (E.J.) - Lewis on Perdurance Versus Endurance" and "Lowe (E.J.) - The Problems of Intrinsic Change: Rejoinder to Lewis").
  5. The first premise is that time essentially involves change – by which I mean that time essentially involves happenings or events.
  6. The second premise of our argument is that change can only be understood by reference to something which persists through that change.


Symposium with Noonan. See "Noonan (Harold) - Substance, Identity and Time".

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