Beyond Endurance and Perdurance: Recurrent Dynamics
Seibt (Johanna)
Source: Persistence, ed. by C. Kanzian, Frankfurt et al.: de Gruyter, 133-163
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction (Arbitrarily Truncated)

  1. During the last decades the so-called ‘problem of persistence’ has been continuously — persistently, one is tempted to say — in the focus of the research debate in analytical ontology. There are impressive advances in finessing positions and arguments, but essentially the debate seems caught in a deadlock between, on the one hand, identity-based accounts suitable for the ontological interpretation of common sense (but not science), and, on the other hand, relation-based accounts suitable for the ontological interpretation of science (but not common sense). Since in philosophy a theoretical impasse of this kind is commonly generated by a joint implicit assumption, one might try to step out of the debate, identify questionable presuppositions, and approach the topic with fresh eyes. This is the task of this paper.
  2. In fact, as it appears, participants of the debate about persistence share not only one problematic assumption, but overlapping parts of an entire network of presuppositions. Elsewhere I have shown this network of presuppositions to be operative not only in the debate about transtemporal identity (‘persistence’), but also in the discussion of numerical identity (‘individuation’) and qualitative identity (the debate about ‘universals’). As I have argued, these presuppositions delimitate a research paradigm that has informed the ontological discussion from Aristotle to the present day, the ‘substance paradigm.’
    Ontological presuppositions are hidden axioms of inquiry that in most cases cannot be shown to be false in any straightforward sense. At best one can show that certain theoretical set-ups in ontology are not well suited to fulfilling their explanatory tasks. In fact, the presuppositions of the substance paradigm that drive the debate about persistence present a particularly striking case in this regard—they make it particularly difficult to devise a coherent ontological interpretation of persistence and change while taking the ‘logic’ (inferential role) of our statements about persistence and change at face value.
  3. […]


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