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Powers, persistence, and the problem of temporary intrinsics

Allen, Sophie R.



David Lewis uses the problem of temporary intrinsics to motivate a perdurantist account of persistence in which four-dimensional individuals consist of temporal parts. Other philosophers use his argument to conclude that apparently persisting individuals are collections of temporal stages. In this paper, I investigate whether this argument is as effective in an ontology in which properties are causal powers and thus how seriously the problem should be taken. I go back to first principles to examine the ways in which individuals can change within an ontology of powers and then consider whether any of these ways are compatible with Lewis's problem. I conclude that if powers are intrinsic, they are not temporary; and if they are temporary, they are not fully intrinsic. However, the situation with respect to changes in which powers are manifesting is not so clear cut, and so I explore how different conceptions of manifestation affect whether the problem of temporary intrinsics applies and what the powers theorist may say about them.


Allen, S. R. (in press). Powers, persistence, and the problem of temporary intrinsics. Philosophical Studies,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 12, 2024
Online Publication Date Jun 19, 2024
Deposit Date Jul 9, 2024
Journal Philosophical Studies
Print ISSN 0554-0739
Electronic ISSN 1573-0883
Publisher Philosophy Documentation Center
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL
Additional Information Accepted: 12 April 2024; First Online: 19 June 2024