Tom Crowther (Warwick): Recent Work on Temporal Ontology: Processes as Continuants and Processes as Stuffs
|Starts:||15:00 8 Mar 2016|
|Ends:||17:00 8 Mar 2016|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Adults, Current University students, General public|
A number of philosophers, including Rowland Stout (2015) and Helen Steward (2015), have attempted to argue that processes—for example, running, or walking—are ‘continuants’: that processes exist across time in the way that concrete material objects do on an endurantist ontology. In the first part of this paper, I argue that this idea should be resisted, and attempt to explain why.
Some philosophers, for example, Alexander Mourelatos (1978) and Barry Taylor (1985) have proposed that there is an analogy between processes (or ‘activities’) and space-filling stuffs. This suggestion has been developed, in different ways, by Crowther (2011), Hornsby (2012) and Steward (2013). But there is disagreement in the recent literature about the status and nature of this analogy. Stout (1997) and (2003), for example, offers a number of different arguments for rejecting the view that processes are the temporal analogues of space-filling stuff. Steward (2013) accepts the analogy, but develops it in a distinctive way, arguing that while processes are temporal forms of stuff, they are nevertheless countable individuals.
In the second part of the paper, I attempt to reject the arguments that Stout has offered against the idea that process is a temporal form of stuff. But I also offer arguments against the way that this analogy has been developed in Steward (2013). These arguments involve some further development of the idea that there is an analogy between process and space-filling stuff. It will also require an acknowledgment of the fact that there are important differences between temporal stuff and space-filling stuff. Understanding these differences will help us to see even more clearly why processes cannot be continuants.
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