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Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199263523
ISBN-10: 0199263523
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Theodore Sider's excellent book provides an extremely lucid, persuasive, and detailed defense of the four-dimensionalist position, one that poses formidable challenges to the three-dimensionalist...Sider adds powerful new considerations of his own creation to the existing stockpile, which no doubt will engender a flurry of serious philosophical scrutiny in the literature to come...As a result, Sider arrives at an extraordinarily thoughtful, informative, and balanced assessment of the debate over persistence from which misleading rhetoric is largely absent...For many years to come, this book is sure to be the locus classicus with respect to which all those engaged with the literature on persistence must position themselves." --The Philosophical Review


About the Author

Earl Conee teaches philosophy at the University of Rochester. Theodore Sider teaches philosophy at Rutgers University.
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Product Details

  • Series: Ontology of Persistence and Time
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Clarendon Press; 1 edition (July 31, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199263523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199263523
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.7 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #765,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Hud Hudson, in a review of Ted Sider's book, says, "This is simply a superb book in metaphysics - handsomely written, cleverly argued, and exceedingly clear." Of course, Hudson happens to agree with almost every thesis Sider defends in the book. But I don't. In fact, I happen to disagree with almost every position defended in Sider's book. So what do I think of the book? I think it is simply a superb book in metaphysics - handsomely written, cleverly argued, and exceedingly clear. And I think it is notable that both friends and foes of the views defended in the book will find it to be extremely valuable. That is a real mark of distinction in philosophy, and my hat is off to Sider for producing such an outstanding work.
What is the book about? Mainly the question of whether physical objects have temporal parts. A temporal part of x is, roughly, an object that exists for a shorter time than x but that exactly overlaps x throughout its existence. Sider believes, for example, that you have a temporal part that exists (only) from noon to 1pm today, and that perfectly overlaps you throughout that time. His view allows him to give neat and clean solutions to all manner of metaphysical problems (including the problem of how a time traveler who meets his former self could be both sitting and standing at the same time), and to do various other wonderful things.
Although this is primarily a work for academic philosophers, it is clear enough that non-philosophers will be able to follow it, and to benefit from a careful reading of it. I highly recommend Four-Dimensionalism to professional philosophers, philosophy students (both graduate and undergraduate), and anyone else who is interested in questions about time and space.
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'Four-Dimensionalism' is a great book. Sider defends Four-Dimensionalism with great clarity and force. Four-Dimensionalism holds (roughly) that, just as you have spatial parts--e.g. hands, cells, simples, etc.--you have "temporal" parts. A temporal part is a part of you that exists at a certain time in your existence. A consequence of this view is that, at a particular moment, you don't "wholly" exist, because your existence is spread out in time. (Four-Dimensionalism contrasts with Three-Dimensionalism, which holds that you "wholly exist" at every moment you exist.) What's nice about this book is that it takes a difficult, possibly obscure, view and makes it a joy to read about.

The book begins with an "Introduction." Unlike most Introductions, Sider's is important to read because it begins by setting forth the philosophical method and picture Sider is utilizing. (In fact, at several points in the book, Sider falls back on the points he makes in the Introduction.) The book is divided into six chapters. The first presents the "Four-Dimensionalism" picture, and motivates it by showing its ability to handle certain conceptual problems. The second could stand alone, and is a defense of the "B-theory" of time, which Sider assumes for the remainder of the book. The third attempts to state exactly what the Three/Four-Dimensionalism fuss is about. The final three chapters, which take up the bulk of the book, constitute a defense of Four-Dimensionalism--the first two provide arguments for the view, the last defends it against objections. (The book also contains a sizable list of references.)

Sider's writing is clear and easy to follow.
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Not an easy read for the common man, but a fascinating exploration of an important philosophical idea, made more so by the revelations of modern physics. I enjoyed Ted Sider's writing, and hope to enjoy it even more the second time I read this book. First I must read "Riddles of Existence: A Guided Tour of Metaphysics," which I understand is directed to a more general audience.
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A very solid modern work on ontology. Very useful results in all areas of philosophy, including my interests in the philosophy of identity and the theology of resurrection.
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