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Hardcover | Out of Print | 338 pp. | 6 x 9 in | May 2010 | ISBN: 9780262014090
Paperback | $37.00 Short | £30.95 | 338 pp. | 6 x 9 in | May 2010 | ISBN: 9780262513975
eBook | $26.00 Short | May 2010 | ISBN: 9780262266130
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Time and Identity

Introduction by Matthew H. Slater


The concepts of time and identity seem at once unproblematic and frustratingly difficult. Time is an intricate part of our experience—it would seem that the passage of time is a prerequisite for having any experience at all—and yet recalcitrant questions about time remain. Is time real? Does time flow? Do past and future moments exist? Philosophers face similarly stubborn questions about identity, particularly about the persistence of identical entities through change. Indeed, questions about the metaphysics of persistence take on many of the complexities inherent in philosophical considerations of time. This volume of original essays brings together these two essentially related concepts in a way not reflected in the available literature, making it required reading for philosophers working in metaphysics and students interested in these topics.

The contributors, distinguished authors and rising scholars, first consider the nature of time and then turn to the relation of identity, focusing on the metaphysical connections between the two, with a special emphasis on personal identity. The volume concludes with essays on the metaphysics of death, issues in which time and identity play a significant role. This groundbreaking collection offers both cutting-edge epistemological analysis and historical perspectives on contemporary topics.

Harriet Baber, Lynne Rudder Baker, Ben Bradley, John W. Carroll, Reinaldo Elugardo, Geoffrey Gorham, Mark Hinchliff, Jenann Ismael, Barbara Levenbook, Andrew Light, Lawrence B. Lombard, Ned Markosian, Harold Noonan, John Perry, Harry S. Silverstein, Matthew H. Slater, Robert J. Stainton, Neil A. Tognazzini

About the Editors

Joseph Keim Campbell is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Washington State University.

Michael O’Rourke is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Michigan State University.

Harry S. Silverstein is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at Washington State University, and coeditor of three previous volumes in the Topics in Contemporary Philosophy series, Causation and Explanation (2007), Knowledge and Skepticism (2010), and Time and Identity (2010), all published by the MIT Press.

Table of Contents

  • Time and Identity
  • Topics in Contemporary Philosophy
  • Editors
  • Joseph Keim Campbell, Washington State University
  • Michael O’Rourke, University of Idaho
  • Harry S. Silverstein, Washington State University
  • Editorial Board Members
  • Kent Bach, San Francisco State University
  • Michael Bratman, Stanford University
  • Nancy Cartwright, London School of Economics
  • Richard Feldman, University of Rochester
  • John Martin Fischer, University of California, Riverside
  • Nicholas F. Gier, University of Idaho
  • Philip J. Ivanhoe, Boston University
  • Michael McKinsey, Wayne State University
  • John Perry, Stanford University and University of California, Riverside
  • Stephen Schiffer, New York University
  • Brian Skyrms, University of California, Irvine
  • Holly Smith, Rutgers University
  • Judith Jarvis Thomson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Peter van Inwagen, University of Notre Dame
  • Time and Identity
  • edited by Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O’Rourke, and Harry S. Silverstein
  • A Bradford Book
  • The MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • London, England
  • ©
  • 2010
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
  • MIT Press books may be purchased at special quantity discounts for business or sales promotional use. For information, please email​.edu or write to Special Sales Department, The MIT Press, 55 Hayward Street, Cambridge, MA 02142.
  • This book was set in Stone and Stone Sans by Westchester Book Group. Printed and bound in the United States of America.
  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
  • Time and identity / edited by Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O’Rourke, and Harry S. Silverstein.
  • p. cm.—(Topics in contemporary philosophy)
  • “A Bradford book.”
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • ISBN 978-0-262-01409-0 (hardcover : alk. paper)—ISBN 978-0-262-51397-5 (pbk. : alk. paper)
  • 1. Time. 2. Identity (Philosophical concept). 3. Self (Philosophy). 4. Death. I. Campbell, Joseph Keim, 1958–. II. O’Rourke, Michael, 1963–. III. Silverstein, Harry, 1942–.
  • BD638.T5437 2010
  • 115—dc22
  • 2009041935
  • 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction:
  • Framing the Problems of Time and Identity
  • 1
  • Matthew H. Slater
  • I Time 25
  • 1 Temporal Reality 27
  • Lynne Rudder Baker
  • 2 Time for a Change:
  • A Polemic against the Presentism–Eternalism Debate
  • 49
  • Lawrence B. Lombard
  • 3 Context, Conditionals, Fatalism, Time Travel, and Freedom 79
  • John W. Carroll
  • 4 The Identity of the Past 95
  • Mark Hinchliff
  • II Identity 111
  • 5 Identity through Change and Substitutivity
  • Salva Veritate
  • 113
  • Reinaldo Elugardo and Robert J. Stainton
  • 6 Identifying the Problem of Personal Identity 129
  • Ned Markosian
  • 7 Persistence and Responsibility 149
  • Neal A. Tognazzini
  • 8 Descartes on Persistence and Temporal Parts 165
  • Geoffrey Gorham
  • III The Self 183
  • 9 Persons, Animals, and Human Beings 185
  • Harold Noonan
  • 10 Me, Again 209
  • Jenann Ismael
  • 11 Selves and Self-Concepts 229
  • John Perry
  • 12 Ex Ante Desire and Post Hoc Satisfaction 249
  • H. E. Baber
  • IV Death 269
  • 13 Eternalism and Death’s Badness 271
  • Ben Bradley
  • 14 The Time of the Evil of Death 283
  • Harry S. Silverstein
  • 15 The Retroactivity Problem 297
  • Barbara Baum Levenbook
  • V Postlude 309
  • 16 Love Conquers All, Even Time? 311
  • Andrew Light
  • Contributors 321
  • Index 323
  • Acknowledgments
  • Earlier versions of the essays in this volume were presented in Pullman, Washington, and Moscow, Idaho, at the eighth annual Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference (INPC), held April 1–3, 2005. For administrative and financial support for the conference, we thank the philosophy departments at Washington State University (David Shier, Chair) and the University of Idaho (Douglas Lind, Chair), the College of Liberal Arts at Washington State University (Erich Lear, Dean), the College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences (Joe Zeller, Dean) and the Provost’s Office at the University of Idaho, the research offices at both universities, and the departmental administrative managers, DeeDee Torgeson and Diane Ellison. We are also grateful for a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to help fund the Public Forum.
  • Those who presented papers at INPC 2005 were encouraged to submit their work for possible inclusion in this volume, and, after a process of peer evaluation, only a few were selected. We regret that we had to turn down numerous quality essays. For help with the selection process and other matters, we thank William Beardsley, Ben Bradley, Andrei Buckareff, Ben Caplan, Larry Colter, Barry Dainton, Bruce Glymour, Gary Hardcastle, Katherine Hawley, Mark Heller, Paul Hovda, Charlie Huenemann, Simon Keller, Ann Levey, Marc Moffett, Mark Moyer, Joe Salerno, Steve Savitt, Christopher Shields, Russell Wahl, Lisa Warenski, Ryan Wasserman, Brian Weatherson, and Ron Wilburn.
  • Finally, our thanks to Delphine Keim Campbell, Rebecca O’Rourke, and Lorinda Knight for continued support and understanding!


“A surprisingly informative and useful volume...The editors deserve credit not just for selecting and editing these fine essays but for arranging them in a manner that highlights how the essays relate to each other...A very good book...It brings together essays that are each worth reading alone and that also contribute to a greater whole.”—Kronoscope