© 2010, Sam Hopkins


Temporal parts pose something of a quandary. On the one hand, if they exist and fulfill the roles they are frequently claimed to, they appear to be an elegant solution to a number of basic metaphysical problems, change and identity of an object through time foremost, but also a number of smaller (perhaps subsidiary) issues. But on the other hand, an account of their ontology (not the ontology of things the temporal-parts theorist claims they compose) is not easily intuitively forthcoming. The questions of just exactly what a temporal part is and why we ought to believe they exist are troubling indeed. I will here briefly rehash the conventional view on the ontology of temporal parts, raise a few of the choiciest problems it faces in the cogency of the existence of temporal parts as entities of the sort that can solve the metaphysical problems in question (or indeed as entities at all), and offer my own alternative view. In the end, we will see that temporal parts can be constructed from the more fundamental notion of events and so become theoretical entities that nonetheless can do the heavy philosophical lifting we expect of them.

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