Coincidence and Identity
Mackie (Penelope)
Source: Philosophy 83 supplement 62 (2008), 151-176 (special issue on Being: Developments in Contemporary Metaphysics)
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. This paper is about a puzzle concerning the metaphysics of material objects: a puzzle generated by cases where material objects appear to coincide, sharing all their matter. As is well known, it can be illustrated by the example of a statue1. In front of me now, sitting on my desk, is a (small) statue2 – a statue3 of a lion. The statue4 is made of clay. So in front of me now is a piece of clay. But what is the relation between the statue5 and the piece of clay? Are they identical, or are they distinct?
  2. In this paper, I do the following.
    1. First, in §§2 and 3 I set out some cases of coincidence, and some responses to the cases.
    2. In the remainder of the paper, I focus on the opposition between two of these responses:
      1. the one standardly given by the endurantist6 about persistence, and
      2. the one standardly given by the perdurantist7 about persistence.
      For reasons that will be clear, I call the first response ‘pluralism’, and the second response ‘intermediate monism’. I make no secret of the fact that my sympathies are with the pluralist.
    3. In §6 I raise what seems to me to be a serious problem for the intermediate monist’s account – i.e., for the account standardly given by the perdurantist8.
    4. In the final sections of the paper (§§ 7–10) I defend the pluralist view against some objections.

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