Time, Objects, and Identity

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Gibson, Ian
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This is a copy of my DPhil thesis, the abstract for which is as follows: The first third of this thesis argues for a B-theoretic conception of time according to which all times exist equally and the present is in no way privileged. I distinguish "ontological" A-theories from "non-ontological" ones, arguing that the latter are experientially unmotivated and barely coherent. With regard to the former, I focus mainly on presentism. After some remarks on how to formulate this (and eternalism) non-trivially, I review the non-relativistic case against presentism. I then consider the impact of Special Relativity on the debate, and attempt to deepen this impact by supplying a modal variation on the standard arguments. The middle third of the thesis investigates persistence, contending that both endurance and perdurance are consonant with the eternalism already endorsed. After introducing these theories of persistence, and discussing in particular how best to formulate an eternalist endurance, I proceed to defend the coherence of this combination. The Problem of Change is addressed here. I then respond in some detail to recent allegations of relativistic threats to endurance. The final third of the thesis questions the validity of the endurantist-perdurantist dispute. I criticize two recently proposed translation schemes that aim to show this dispute to be non-substantive. However, the second scheme suggests a doctrine of "Ontological Equivalence" which I develop and consider. I then address the Rotating Discs Argument, using this to launch a discussion of identity, genidentity, and the relationship between them.