Monday, November 6, 2017

Aristotle and contemporary science


Routledge has just released the important new anthology Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science, edited by William M. R. Simpson, Robert C. Koons, and Nicholas J. Teh.  I’ve contributed an essay titled “Actuality, Potentiality, and Relativity’s Block Universe.”  The other contributors are Xavi Lanao, Nicholas Teh, Robert Koons, Alexander Pruss, William Simpson, Tuomas Tahko, Christopher Austin, Anna Marmodoro, David Oderberg, Janice Chik, William Jaworski, and Daniel De Haan, with a foreword by John Haldane.  The book is available in hardcover or, for a much lower price, in an electronic version.
 
More information is available at Routledge’s website.

128 comments:

  1. I had a dream the other night that I visited Pasadena City College campus to meet you, but you constantly outran me (which would not be hard!) and I never got to meet you. I assume this dream was triggered by your frenetic pace of writing and teaching! Anyway, thanks for your work!

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  2. I wish I could afford that (LOL). This is a topic I've always been interested in (having studied under a former student of the late Charles DeKoninck).

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  3. Very Important piece, Probably the most important one here, This "block world" view seems like the biggest stumbling block to success of Aristotelianism along with recent rise of Ontic Structural realism and Priority monism.

    Hope I'll get to read it soon.

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  4. is there any semi-platonic endorsement?

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  5. How reliable of a source is Wolfgang Smith on the aristotelian philosophy of science?

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    1. I’ve wondered the same thing.

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    2. Smith does not represent anything like the mainstream Aristotelian approach to Philosophy of Science. Most persons working in that field, Mumford or Cartwright for instance, argue that the sciences require or implicitly presuppose aspects of Aristotelian ontology e.g. Essences, Powers or Dispositionality. Their line is that said ontology helps solve philosophical problems for the sciences.

      Smith makes the case that Aristotelian ontology (Act/Potency distinction) can help us solve existing problems with scientific theories, particularly in the case of quantum mechanics.

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    3. I take it Koons and Pruss are in the same camp as smith

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  6. Nicholas Teh? His name is Teh? Poor guy. I'd imagine he gets pretty frustrated with the autocorrect feature on his word processor.

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  7. https://feserismisnotthomism.wordpress.com/

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    1. What the hell? Someone created a blog just to say "Ed Feser is wrong"?

      I'd get it if there was another Thomistic site which at some point decided to aim some criticisms at Feser, but the guy just made a blog for that. It seems kinda silly.

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    2. Normally it would be silly. But the objections, far from arcane, are standard Catholic ones to some of the ideas in this blog. He could say a lot about the objections, but he can't.

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    3. Feserism is not Thomism

      It's just better than Thomism?

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    4. I'm not sure you know what Thomism is.

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    5. Anyone fancy photoshoping 'Thomism' in place of 'Butter'

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Can%27t_Believe_It%27s_Not_Butter!

      Edward Feser - I Can't Believe It's Not Thomism

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    6. By standard Catholic ones you appear to mean silly evangelical ones, like classical theism is contrary to the personal God of the bible.

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    7. And to the personal God of St. Thomas Aquinas.

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    8. Who is this guy? He goes wrong immediately -- naturally I have never denied that God is personal (and I've responded to this moronic charge about 1,234 times now) -- and it just gets worse from there.

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    9. Then it should be easy to answer the objections properly. The world is a better place.

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    10. Interesting, because I don't think Doc Angel knows what Thomism is. He raises up three objections against Dr. Feser of which I will answer to the first and third (the second one titled "Strange ideas on Original Sin" I haven't read the post he cites yet).

      1) Doc Angel says, "Feser displays his discomfort with the term 'personal God'" and goes on to say that "It goes against the emphasis which Thomas Aquinas gives to a personal God." Now, I don't know how he thinks this proves his point but if I can recall correctly St. Thomas never used the term "personal God." If I am wrong, please correct me. But St. Thomas didn't have to use that term because God IS what we would say personal however it was always understood as His divine providence which is much broader but nevertheless encompasses singulars e.g. human persons (for more on this read Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3 all of it but specifically Ch. 76-82). And as Fr. Lagrange notes that the "divine perfections which the notion of providence presupposes" this tells us that by philosophically investigating who God is, which Dr. Feser has wonderfully shown, then we can know that God cares about us. As St. Ambrose said, "But what workman is there who gives no care to his work? Who would forsake and abandon what he believes himself to have produced? If it is derogatory to rule, is it not more so to have created? Though there is no wrong involved in not creating anything, it is surely the height of cruelty not to care for what one has created."
      What does providence consist in? Well that’s where Divine Revelation comes in. This I believe is a big reason many people in history have become catholic. I can speak from experience. Hence, your first point fails. (Anyone interested in Divine Providence I highly recommend this book https://www.amazon.com/Providence-Gods-Loving-ConfidenceAlmighty/dp/0895556332/ref=pd_cp_14_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=K93TSTP77NHRQEQCBQAF)

      3) Doc Angel said, "This post is not concerned with the possibility or not of evolution" but that is precisely what that section was about. I don't recall Dr. Feser promoting evolution nor denying it (maybe I missed it?) but in any case, Doc Angel is implying evolution is contrary to Thomism. If that were true then Fr. Eduardo Hugon, Fr. Henri Grenier, Fr. Adolphe Tanqueray, Fr. Juan Arintero, and Fr. G. Lagrange (to mention a few) are not Thomists. I am not saying they believed in evolution but proved that there is a certain type of evolution that is not contrary to the Faith. Read this http://iteadthomam.blogspot.com/2010/09/garrigou-lagrange-on-evolution-aka.html
      I personally don't believe in evolution of whatever kind (except micro evolution which is not really evolution but mutations within the same species) and do think there are strong arguments against it; scientifically, philosophical, but especially theologically made by certain Fathers although implicitly (such as St. Irenaeus and St. Maximus the Confessor). But if you accuse Dr. Feser of not being Thomist because of evolution (which I don't know if he believes in it or not) then you accuse the theologians I mentioned as well.

      I hope to answer to the second point when I have the time. I don't know what your agenda is Doc Angel but I'm sure it is not catholic. You could have simply emailed Dr. Feser about your concerns without making a website. If you are catholic, have you ever heard of fraternal correction? I hope my comment was of any help. Laudetur Jesus Christus!

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    11. Feser robustly defends God's goodess, intellect, will, and love over and over. Do you want him to have God give you a hug too?

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    12. Thanks Jose and Dr. Feser for your replies. Most of your points are not an issue but they don't address the objections to the blog, which shows a discomfort with the term personal God and lack of enthusiasm in using it (an extrapolation is not the same thing as using the term, so necessary these days), contrary to Catholic practice and liturgy. Nor were the objections concerned with evolution per se or certain philosophers' envisaging of what kind of evolution might not be uncatholic, but with the particular combination of science or evolution and the Faith which is to be seen on this site, which is not possible to accept.

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    13. "discomfort"
      "lack of enthusiasm"
      Have you considered using this mind-reading technique of yours for something *other* than concern trolling? I'm sure the CIA would love to meet a man who has such powers of discernment.

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    14. dontfeedthetroll November 7, 2017 at 3:09 PM

      "What the hell? Someone created a blog just to say "Ed Feser is wrong"?"
      --Yeah, weird, I mean, why not just come here and tell him straight up?-)

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    15. Doc Angelic,

      Your accusations are wrong. Jose literally showed you why charges 1 and 3 do not hold water and instead you insist on subjective charges of "discomfort" and "lack of enthusiasm" to say "feserism is not thomism". What's up with that?

      Again, for point 1, Feser does not say that God is not "personal" in any way; he holds that we can say God is personal by *analogy* and not in a univocal sense, which is precisely St. Thomas Aquinas's position. Feser insists on the distinction in order to defend the traditional (and catholic) view of God as Being itself and not just "some being" (however powerful). God is wholly transcendent and is not a being in the same sense that we are, and likewise He's not personal in the same sense that we are. Feser insists on it to defend divine simplicity and also to critique what has been called "theistic personalism" by fr. Brian Davies and "monopolytheism" by David Bentley Hart.

      As far as evolution goes, Feser literally just provided a tentative explanation on how one can accept modern evolutionary theory without contradicting any Catholic dogma, and he even provided a possible, tentative account on how monogenism is compatible with modern evolutionary theory: by showing that "monogenism" in the Catholic sense is not the same as that in the evolutionary sense, because in the Catholic sense an understanding of what a human being is is that of a rational animal with an immortal soul. Feser did not say Adam was an "ape" or was intellectually inferior to us; what he argued was actually that Adam would be homo sapiens sapiens (like us, and with a biologic constitution similar or equal to that of "early humans" of MET) AND, differently from his biological counterparts, with an immortal soul/intellect and will (and this is how Adam is the first HUMAN: the first rational animal, created in God's image, with a soul that is created directly by God). Your charge is confused, misses the mark and misrepresents Feser's account.

      Moreover, Feser was just providing a *possible* account, he was just showing how things may have happened. If you don't want to accept evolution or whatever, that's on you. Feser was just showing how modern evolutionary theory does not actually contradict Catholic dogma or even human monogenism (in the Catholic sense).

      I advise you to take down that page, as it has baseless accusations. And you've gotten your answers, and multiple catholics here disagree with what you've written.

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    16. I will also never understand why some Christians insist on making Christianity less modest, and therefore less plausible and more costly in the eyes of non-believers and potential converts.

      There may be potential catholic converts who are, however, very convinced that evolution is true (and not persuaded by any arguments to the contrary), and see it as a possible stumbling block for their conversion. Then along comes Humani Generis and shows how an evolutionary account of our biological constitution, our bodies, is not actually contrary to the faith: good! And philosophers like Feser actually elaborates an account for how one can even merge monogenism with it. Good! But then comes some random believers who, on the contrary (and against even Humani Generis), will INSIST that evolution contradicts the Catholic or the Christian faith, and that therefore you cannot convert if you believe in evolution, there is still yet another belief you have to give up on (and that some will *not* be able to give up). Good job guys.

      Of course, truth is the most important thing at the end of the day. But Humani Generis (and Feser's and other philosopher and theologian's arguments, too) already showed how evolution is compatible with Catholicism. And anyway, even though what matters most is truth, one would expect that a Christian would want to make his religion to be as plausible as possible. Just like a philosopher working on a cosmological argument will want his premises to be as broad as possible, so people can accept them regardless of their views on time, causation etc -- as much as possible. And yet some Christians, for whatever reason, will somehow insist on making their belief less modest and less plausible as possible especially for modern audiences.

      I'll never understand that. Especially coming from Catholics.

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    17. An enthusiastic use of the term personal God is called for, in the way the Church and St. Thomas Aquinas do of course. Its absence is a declaration in itself and a debate with some evangelical with strange ideas is no reason for abandoning this age-old Catholic terminology. As for Dr. Feser's description of early humans as sub-human please read again his description which was in the objection. Feser's account is not a possible account because it does not square with what the Faith tells us about Adam. In the catholic sense a human being isn't just a rational animal, he is a descendant of Adam. As the objection states, Humani Generis does not say evolution is now ''OK'' but that experts in science and theology may discuss certain possibilities, no more.
      The Church is not obsessed with evolution; it's concerned with the Faith. It's not necessary in order to bring others to the faith to convince them that evolution is wrong. At the same time, it would be wrong to twist the faith in order to make it fit a hypothesis that by its on account changes every five minutes. The objections have not been answered.

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    18. You said that the term personal God is an "age-old Catholic terminology." I really am curious where you got that from, can you show me where the Fathers and/or Theologians have you used that term? The only time I have read that is in contemporary theological books (which most of them, not all, are tainted by modernism to a certain degree).
      You also said, "In the catholic sense a human being isn't just a rational animal, he is a descendant of Adam." So what is Adam then? Well, he was the first rational animal. I hope you know what rational animal means because it sounds like you don't.

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    19. I am convinced Doc Angelic is not really open to having his "objections" refuted. We have just explained what Feser's problem with theistic personalism is, and how he actually holds God to be personal in an analogical sense -- the same used by Aquinas.

      And again, the Catholic understanding of what a human being is is that of a rational animal. Not "a descendant of Adam", otherwise Adam himself wouldn't be human, as Jose pointed out. A human being is a rational animal -- created in the image and likeness of God, image by the fact that humans have intellect and will (because of the immaterial soul), and likenness because of grace. Feser's account remains a possible one and he does not treat Adam as subhuman. Adam would be the first human being -- the first rational animal, and we all descend from Adam. His account is squarely in accordance with Humani Generis in preserving the supernatural status of the human soul (and therefore of the human being) while admitting of a natural, biological explanation for the origin of our bodies. And also in accordance with monogenism in the Catholic sense.

      Again, Doc Angelic, I'd recommend you to take down that website. Come on, fra.

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  8. Would be on my Christmas list if I (or the people who give me Christmas gifts) could afford it. I guess that I can always try to find it through the library.

    On a related note, I see that another book on a similar topic has just come out at

    https://www.amazon.com/What-physics-defence-classical-theism/dp/1974401650/

    It might also be worth thinking about.

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    1. If you click on the Routledge’s website link, the preview provides a good chunk of Dr. Feser's article. Not the whole thing, but at least 6 or 7 pages.

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    2. A physicist defends classical philosophy, the actuality - potentiality distinction, realism about the universals and so on? Seems interesting.

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    3. can't find the preview.

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    4. Its a big button that says Google Preview.

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  9. There has been some very interesting research done lately indicating that conscious thought can directly affect the particle distribution in the famous double slit experiment and cannot be explained by environmental factors.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRSBaq3vAeY

    This experiment has also been independently verified by a former CERN researcher, Dr. Gabriel Guerrer, a little over a month ago with 4.68 sigma (statistically significant) result.

    https://osf.io/zsgwp/

    It would be very interesting if Dr. Feser could look into this and its implications. It appears that as physics moves further and further forward, A-T metaphysical interpretations become more robust.

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    1. There's been a host of laboratory psychical research going at least back to Rhine in the 30s showing small but statistically significant (i.e., non-random) effects of consciousness on inanimate objects. This research has often been hampered by prejudices, unfortunately, showing that philosophical materialism can actually obsctruct scientific research.

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    2. You are correct on materialism hampering scientific progress. In the case of the study by Dr. Guerrer, he was only able to obtain the money for it via crowdfunding.

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  10. Dr. Feser I would like to request an online version of your Paper because the topic is very important, the arguments in your books will stand or fall with argument you present here and because most other articles in the collection are already available online.

    From what I've been able to view, I think you get your discussion started of the wrong foot, specifically your You can't deny change without presupposing changeargument is the result of misunderstanding the issue completely, I think yet you consider is extremely persuasive, hopefully rest of your paper might clarify things.

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    1. Oh lord, not this again. How many times have you had your misunderstandings of philo of time explained to you in detail now?

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    2. Like where?

      And actually this paper is the evidence that I am not misunderstanding anything, its those who deny that Time is related to the argument.

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    3. Different anon here. An example would be your constant confusion over basic terminology.

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    4. Red is highly likely a sock puppet of iwpoe, as is Romanjoe.

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    5. What? Those posters know what they are talking about. Red doesn't. Grammar and style are totally different too.

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    6. a) What do you mean by "basic terminology"

      b) Where do we find those "examples" of my confusion?

      c) How is a request of Paper related to those confusions?

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    7. Anon, I think that's part of Poe's fun. Notice some of Red's posting mannerism, which seemed exaggerated, like the constant dots, have disappeared. He has also improved his philosophical knowledge very quickly. Romanjoe did the same. He went from a Catholic with doubts and philosophical novice to someone relatively knowledgeable. The question is, who else is a sockpuppet?

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    8. At the classical theist forum, posting under the name Calhoun, you certainly seemed to exhibit lots of confusions, as John West pointed in detail.

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    9. http://classicaltheism.boardhost.com/viewtopic_mobile.php?id=760

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    10. Actually No, He didn't really point anything out he just started getting annoyed when I showed his points to be unconvincing. He didn't really address much anyway.

      And again, It all depends on whether Dr. Feser's defense here is cogent or not, its presence at least shows here that I am not mistaken about there being at least apparent problem here.

      We'll see what happens.

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    11. And its important to point out here that here Dr.Feser exhibits a change in his views, earlier he always denied that issues related to Time are relevant to the arguments in his books now with this publication he has changed his stance.

      So before dismissing something as confused based on superficial engagement with it you should at least give it a thought as topic here is deep and inherently confusing and results in various viewpoints and differing intuitions. A lot of care is needed to be taken in assessing them all.

      So, no more on this until we see what Ed has to say.

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    12. Lol. You confused the kalam argument with the argument from motion, didn't understand causal relations, misunderstood contingecy claims, etc. You didn't show anything.

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    13. That is, confused the underpinnings of the kalam argument with the argument from motion. That thread does not paint you in a good light.

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    14. Care to substantiate those assertions?

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    15. Red,

      If this issue is related to the philosophy of time, and whether the argument from motion depends on an A theory of time (for instance), I think it's important to mention a few things:

      -the rationalist argument (or the leibnizian cosmological argument) does not depend on any theory of time whatsoever. Alexander Pruss is a B-theorist and he famously defends the leibnizian cosmological argument. As I explained before, all it requires is PSR + BCCF (or a contigent fact, a very basic modal understanding that pretty much no one denies, regardless of whether or not they are thomists or a-theorists or b-theorists).

      -I don't think the thomistic second way is affected either, or the augustinian proof, or the neoplatonic argument.

      -And still I don't think motion in Aquinas's first way is incompatible with specific views of time; it seems to me a basic metaphysical fact that could still be true (and require an actualizer) even if we understand it as "tenseless change", since personal identity is still possible in B-theory (as even Craig believes) and therefore a "change" of properties is still intelligible, and so is e-ordered causes (understood ontologically, not temporally)

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    16. That's right Miguel. The only possible issue someone like Feser might have would be temporal passage. However, this is still possible on the b-theory per Maudlin.

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    17. Miguel,

      Unfortunately the issues aren't that straight forward. I won't go into any details here before reading Ed's paper.

      1.LCA isn't among Five ways in the first place so clearly I am not getting much into it but still as I've argued before considered within A-T system it doesn't have much independent leg to stand on If Act/Potency or other elements of A-T are already undermined then Rationalist proof doesn't offer much else, given that as you can observer for A-T essence is prior to modality i.e It is for something to have potency in it or distinction of essence-existence in it that makes it contingent not the other way around.

      And about the strategy you mention, It is hardly the one that can create any trouble for Naturalism or At least for Non-Naturalistic Non-theism.

      Secondly, It isn't really clear that there is such a thing as BCCF, it is one way of defending PSR against Van Inwagen argument to simply deny that there is BCCF see :

      http://www.academia.edu/18318327/The_Principle_of_Sufficient_Reason_Defended_There_Is_No_Conjunction_of_All_Contingently_True_Propositions

      And finally, I think your claim about some basic modal understanding that pretty much no one denies, regardless of whether or not they are thomists or a-theorists or b-theorists is a little mistaken. You might have to clarify what you mean by that but if you mean that the kind of modal notions the argument required are widely accepted then If you look around you might be surprised as Kit Fine remarks at the start of his Volume "Modality and Tense" that.

      Empiricists have always been suspicious of modal notions for them the world is an on-or-off matter. Either something happens or it does not;and there appears to be no room in their on-or-off world for a distinction between what happens of necessity and what only happens contingently or between essential features of objects and those that are only accidental

      This is not to talk about all of them but clearly there are enough who follow Quine in this regard.

      1. I would agree with you on second way though I would qualify that if it requires the same understanding of causality that first way requires then it might get affected.

      I also agree about the augustinian proof, or the neoplatonic argument, those are much stronger but I find some other things problematic about them specially the Neo-platonic proof, but still I find it very believable.

      3. That again I think is mistaken, you should check out the Routledge link above . You can see that Ed straight forwardly admits that A-T kind of change is absent from Block world and so Act/Potency is to be given some other shape in order to be shown to be compatible with it, I am skeptical of such attempt though , I found the one in Five Proofs extremely wanting.

      I have a lot to say but I think its important to read the article first.

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    18. That again I think is mistaken, you should check out the Routledge link above . You can see that Ed straight forwardly admits that A-T kind of change is absent from Block world and so Act/Potency is to be given some other shape in order to be shown to be compatible with it, I am skeptical of such attempt though , I found the one in Five Proofs extremely wanting

      I've read Feser's entire article. It's hard to tell if he's speaking of the majority of b-theorists or b-theorists altogether. Anyways, he indicates that the real change he speaks of is endurantism as opposed to temporal parts theories. If that's the case, all one needs to do to have real change is endorse endurantism and reject temporal parts theories. What's doing the real work in b-theory arguments against change is the denial of the passage of time. Again, there are b-theories endorse temporal passage like those of Maudlin, Savitt, etc. In that case, you still have real passage of time on the b-theory and thus real change. So either Feser's account of time and change is hospitable towards certain forms of the b-theory or he needs to make certain clarifications and adjustments to it.

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    19. Plus thomists have a bunch of arguments that they can use to show how temporal parts theories and subjective time theories are problematic.

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    20. That is to say that Feser does say an A-theory is necessary to affirm temporal passage, but in light of the rest of his article it seems like certain b-theories should still work. And other thomists are free to accept most of the arguments in his article while disagreeing with him on this specific point about the A-theory and the B-theory.

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    21. Anonymous November 11, 2017 at 9:26 PM

      >Material is evidently conserved. We never see a new amount of material coming into being, nor do we ever see and amount of material cease to be.

      "Dude you're just wrong, read up on Quantum Field Theory or GTFO."
      --Interesting. Perhaps you can send a link to an experiment where it was observed that new material just popped into existence out of absolutely nothing and persisted.

      Or, perhaps you can provide a link to an experiment that confirmed the the permanent disappearance of material from existence.

      " Open a physics textbook or something before spewing your nonsense."
      --All my physics textbooks say mass/energy is conserved.

      Perhaps your physics book says
      E=mcc + poof
      or
      E=mcc - poof

      Please provide the ISBN number and page number of the textbook that shows the poof term.

      " You sound like you got all your knowledge of physics from 19th century philosophers"
      --My my my, conservation of mass/energy is now a derided concept of folks from the 1800s.

      Tell me anon, how often do you observe material just popping into or out of existence?

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    22. I've read Feser's entire article. It's hard to tell if he's speaking of the majority of b-theorists or b-theorists altogether.

      At least he speaks for himself thats pretty clear and its fairly obvious in any case that nothing like the kind of change needed for act/potency is present on B-theory.

      he indicates that the real change he speaks of is endurantism as opposed to temporal parts theories. If that's the case, all one needs to do to have real change is endorse endurantism and reject temporal parts theories.

      No, that won't work. Endurantism is a theory about persistence it is about how things persist through change, simply endorsing it won't tell us one way or the other about whether act/potency vindicating change is available or not. So one needs more on that.

      This is clear from the fact that I don't think he tells us that B-theory + Endurantism is compatible with A-T kind of change, does he?

      Does he specifically state this conclusion or suggests it later in the article?

      What's doing the real work in b-theory arguments against change is the denial of the passage of time. Again, there are b-theories endorse temporal passage like those of Maudlin, Savitt, etc. In that case, you still have real passage of time on the b-theory and thus real change

      Of course B-theorist or Four-dimsnsionalist don't deny that change and Passage is totally absent from their view , that would seem incoherent, but that won't get you to actualization of some Potential state of affairs. These authors you mention all take deflationary view towards the passage , it is for them simply a succession of events in eternal block world but you don't get Act/Potency from that any more than you get act/potency from succession of numbers on eternal meter scale stick . Philosopher John Earman calls this view a thin and yawn-inducing sense of passage.

      Plus thomists have a bunch of arguments that they can use to show how temporal parts theories and subjective time theories are problematic.

      Again, I don't see the significance of Eternalist Endurantism for thomists and I don't think the arguments by Dr.Feser in "Scholastic Metaphysics" or the work David Oderberg from which Ed heavily draws from are conclusive.

      I don't know what you mean by Subjective Time theories

      That is to say that Feser does say an A-theory is necessary to affirm temporal passage, but in light of the rest of his article it seems like certain b-theories should still work. And other thomists are free to accept most of the arguments in his article while disagreeing with him on this specific point about the A-theory and the B-theory.

      I can't really asses that because I haven't read full article.

      I think without reading the article I would just be engaging in endless conjectures . If you have read it you should try to asses it yourself.

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    23. At least he speaks for himself thats pretty clear and its fairly obvious in any case that nothing like the kind of change needed for act/potency is present on B-theory.

      No, Feser says on the second page that it is ruling out the reality of time that might cause problems via B-theory, not the ruling out of real change.

      No, that won't work. Endurantism is a theory about persistence it is about how things persist through change, simply endorsing it won't tell us one way or the other about whether act/potency vindicating change is available or not. So one needs more on that.

      Every single theory of change requires that something persists through the change. This would be enduring substances for Thomists. Feser specifically links the denial of real change to different claims about persistence and indicates in the endnotes that he is referring to temporal parts theories ruling out any sense of actualization within a block universe. No substances persist in those theories so is able to change. He also makes this point at greater length in Scholastic Metaphysics.

      Of course B-theorist or Four-dimsnsionalist don't deny that change and Passage is totally absent from their view

      Yeah, they actually do in regards to time. The majority of b-theorists either claim that we don’t even experience time passing or that passage is entirely mind-dependent. In the second scenario, any sense of temporal passage is an illusion or some sort of cognitive error. There are b-theorists that even deny that there is any sort of direction to time.

      These authors you mention all take deflationary view towards the passage , it is for them simply a succession of events in eternal block world but you don't get Act/Potency from that any more than you get act/potency from succession of numbers on eternal meter scale stick. Philosopher John Earman calls this view a thin and yawn-inducing sense of passage.

      This claim only applies to Savitt. Maudlin has a more robust theory. Earman doesn’t mention him. And calling something thin and yawn-inducing only means that something is boring, not that something isn’t sufficient for my purposes. Besides, Feser makes it clear that you’re not supposed to get act/potency from temporal passage. All temporal passage is supposed to do is provide is an objective measure of change. It doesn’t add anything special to it. Change occurs via enduring substances and then some sort of temporal passage follows as a result. As long as it is mind independent account then you have an objective measure of change, and a deflationary account is just as mind-independent as more robust versions.

      Again, I don't see the significance of Eternalist Endurantism for thomists and I don't think the arguments by Dr.Feser in "Scholastic Metaphysics" or the work David Oderberg from which Ed heavily draws from are conclusive.

      It’s relevant because nothing actually changes in alternate theories and these arguments provide support for more favorable b-theories. Feser is right. Theories like perdurantism and exdurantism have to show how one thing can persist through different parts and stages. They can’t. All that happens is that one entity is replaced with another slightly different identity. Change only takes place in an illusory sense since parts or stages can’t change properties. If you are going to say that objects derive their characteristics derivatively through some account of temporal parts, you will have to offer an account of how they do. I’ve never seen a convincing account of how this can be done. We can’t even directly experience parts or stages. If the entirety of an object like a chair is just a series of parts or stages, what holds these things together and makes them a whole? Not to mention that these theories make a complete mess of any sense of personal identity.

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    24. Red,

      I've already explained my view on how the LCA is the strongest and most basic cosmological argument for the existence of God. I absolutely disagree that we need any understanding of act/potency or a real distinction in order to grasp the difference between contingent and necessary propositions, or even what I called propositions type 1 and 2.

      Yes, there are some who deny BCCF, but I find such arguments very weak. And one can run a LCA without strictly needing a BCCF; just a contingent fact that things exist is enough for the conclusion.

      I don't know what you mean that "the strategy I mention would hardly cause problems for naturalism or at least non-naturalism non-theism". If by non-naturalism non-theism you mean spinozistic pantheism, I am actually of the opinion that it is the only possible alternative if one accepts PSR and is bent on rejecting theism. That would make one a pantheist or a panentheist and, I believe, the spinozistic system then follows with necessitarianism, modes of existence, rights as power and etc etc etc. But I find pantheism/panentheism to be extremely implausible (although not as much as atheism or naturalism, as it is at least compatible with a form of PSR), and then we'd be on to discussions of the Gap Problem, as well.

      So what if some empiricists reject modal notions? They are a small, insane minority. Quine also believed our sentences did not actually mean anything. And there are logical revisionists who reject the principle of non-contradiction. There are eliminativists who think we are all zombies who never actually have true or false thoughts of conscious experiences, or draw inferences. Insanity is always going to have some dedicated followers in philosophy, especially among radical empiricists. The rest of us can still take their positions as what they actually are: reductio ad absurdum.

      There is a modal difference between "2 + 2 = 4" and "there is a bowling ball on the floor". There is a simple difference between them and what kind of explanations they call for and can have. No one *needs* act and potency to see that. And the LCA is absolutely general, you may believe the universe is a 4D Block, or that it is actually a presentist universe, whatever you want to believe in your wildest dreams: if PSR is true and there is something rather than nothing, there is an answer to that question, and the answer is what we call God. Whether it is the God of classical theism or the God of Spinoza is what we deal with in the "gap problem". But it is God nonetheless.

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    25. No, Feser says on the second page that it is ruling out the reality of time that might cause problems via B-theory, not the ruling out of real change.

      Then you should perhaps say more on this point to make it plausible, in the preview it can be seen that he explicitly states that B-theory rules out both "real change" and passage of time . I can't point you to the exact page since its a preview but I read this.

      "Naturally, since temporal passage and thus (the Aristotelian argues) real change would be absent from the world as described by B-theory, the theory cannot to that extent be reconciled with Aristotelianism"

      There also seems to be no mention of how adopting B-theoretic Endurantism would be of any help.

      Every single theory of change requires that something persists through the change. This would be enduring substances for Thomists. Feser specifically links the denial of real change to different claims about persistence and indicates in the endnotes that he is referring to temporal parts theories ruling out any sense of actualization within a block universe. No substances persist in those theories so is [un]able to change. He also makes this point at greater length in Scholastic Metaphysics.

      There are two different claims here, first about there being no actualization within block universe , which is right. But the other about there being No substance that persists and there being No change is is absurd, clearly No temporal Part theorists deny that things change or persist , they just have different understanding of it. You might be talking about the Stage theory view of temporal parts Yes, under that theory things don't strictly persist in the usual sense that they don't retain their Identity but such theory is actually motivated with denial of any such requirement in the first place under it, things persist by instead having temporal Counterparts at each time, think of Transworld identity vs Counterparts theory in the case of modal metaphysics. So here again there is no real denial of Persistence just a different understanding.

      Yeah, they actually do in regards to time. The majority of b-theorists either claim that we don’t even experience time passing or that passage is entirely mind-dependent. In the second scenario, any sense of temporal passage is an illusion or some sort of cognitive error. There are b-theorists that even deny that there is any sort of direction to time.

      Here you need to clarify what you actually even mean by temporal passage, if it is seen as a successive ordering of events under B-series then it is obviously compatible with B-theory and there is nothing mind-dependent about it , this is hardy what any B-theorist would deny, but if you mean something like what is usually called Temporal becoming , a change in the ontology of world or addition and subtraction of some Time slice, event or state of affairs then that kind of passage and change is what they would deny for sure.

      Feser is right. Theories like perdurantism and exdurantism have to show how one thing can persist through different parts and stages. They can’t. All that happens is that one entity is replaced with another slightly different identity. Change only takes place in an illusory sense since parts or stages can’t change properties.

      Here too you would need to first get clear on what change is in the first place , for 4Dists there being one entity at one time and another one at another time is all what there is to change in the first place. This don't run into any obvious problem with persistence, because if one thing has one part here and another part there , those still are parts after all of that thing . in this way
      Theories like perdurantism and exdurantism can show that things persist because they are extended through time. Important issues coming below.

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    26. If you are going to say that objects derive their characteristics derivatively through some account of temporal parts, you will have to offer an account of how they do. I’ve never seen a convincing account of how this can be done. We can’t even directly experience parts or stages. If the entirety of an object like a chair is just a series of parts or stages, what holds these things together and makes them a whole?

      Yes, this is the most important issue , This is related to general problem of how any collection can constitute a whole, what hold these things together and make it a whole can also be posed in spatial case .
      Here,many four-dimensionalist also endorse this doctrine called Mereological Universalism or Simply Universalism it is the doctrine that any collection of objects compose a sum, so in temporal parts case any odd assortment of parts would form form a whole.

      So the Answer to when and how does a collection of temporal parts form a whole? is Always and without any criteria.

      In spatial case this entails that there are all sort of objects around us that common sense hasn't even dreamt about, like there is an object like My Glasses+ Dr.Feser's Pen+ Eiffel Tower or there are objects like Earth+Moon

      In case of Temporal Part theory Philosopher Katherine Hawley puts it in a very amusing way:

      " If you think about all times, and imagine that ordinary things are made of instantaneous temporal parts, then you can see that universalist perdurantists believe in quite an extraordinary number of objects. Any combination of temporal parts of any objects from any times, no matter how scattered and disparate, composes an object. So there is an object made of your maternal grandmother's wedding ring on the day she was married, your right ear yesterday and a brief temporal part of an electron in the year 2020."

      One might take this as a reductio of 4D theory but as counter Intuitive this is, it might not be incoherent..

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    27. Miguel,

      I find much to disagree in your post but right now I would like to focus on one topic in this thread, writing so much gets troublesome , So perhaps we should discuss LCA some other time , Ok.

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    28. Then you should perhaps say more on this point to make it plausible, in the preview it can be seen that he explicitly states that B-theory rules out both "real change" and passage of time

      “there is, just as Aristotelians hold, an essential connection between time, change, and the actualization of a potential, so that to deny one is to deny the others. The idea is that the block universe rules out the reality of time, or at least of temporal passage. But temporal passage follows upon change, so that if there is no temporal passage then there can be no change either.”

      The only reason why the B-theory makes problems for change is because it rules out temporal passage. As I’ve already said, the only work that temporal passage is doing is providing an objective measure of change. This lets us know that change has occurred.

      There are two different claims here, first about there being no actualization within block universe , which is right. But the other about there being No substance that persists and there being No change is is absurd, clearly No temporal Part theorists deny that things change or persist , they just have different understanding of it.

      What? I wasn’t talking about claims about change in general, I was talking about what counts as real change for Thomists. Both perdurantism and exdurantism deny that there are enduring substances. But you don’t need to endorse these in order to be a B-theorist. So real change, at least considered separately from temporal passage, is perfectly compatible with the B-theory.

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    29. Here you need to clarify what you actually even mean by temporal passage, if it is seen as a successive ordering of events under B-series then it is obviously compatible with B-theory and there is nothing mind-dependent about it , this is hardy what any B-theorist would deny, but if you mean something like what is usually called Temporal becoming , a change in the ontology of world or addition and subtraction of some Time slice, event or state of affairs then that kind of passage and change is what they would deny for sure.

      Al I mean is that time passes from one moment to the next. The issue isn’t if B-theorists agree on a successive ordering of events, it’s whether or not a successive order of events is enough to account for temporal passage. And this is contrary to your claim that the majority of B-Theorists don’t entirely deny that temporal passage occurs.

      Here too you would need to first get clear on what change is in the first place , for 4Dists there being one entity at one time and another one at another time is all what there is to change in the first place. This don't run into any obvious problem with persistence, because if one thing has one part here and another part there , those still are parts after all of that thing .

      This is just begging the question in that you are assuming that there can even be one thing above all these parts.

      Yes, this is the most important issue , This is related to general problem of how any collection can constitute a whole, what hold these things together and make it a whole can also be posed in spatial case .
      Here,many four-dimensionalist also endorse this doctrine called Mereological Universalism or Simply Universalism it is the doctrine that any collection of objects compose a sum, so in temporal parts case any odd assortment of parts would form form a whole.

      So the Answer to when and how does a collection of temporal parts form a whole? is Always and without any criteria.


      Ockahm’s razor aside, this means that change really is an illusion. Any distinctions between different parts or stages being drawn here occur entirely in the mind. Change has no independent reality. Even worse, our minds are also these arbitrary collections of parts or stages. And it’s not enough to endorse universalism, you still need to posit some sort of additional relation to explain how parts or stages support or interact with one another.

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    30. What? I wasn’t talking about claims about change in general, I was talking about what counts as real change for Thomists. Both perdurantism and exdurantism deny that there are enduring substances. But you don’t need to endorse these in order to be a B-theorist. So real change, at least considered separately from temporal passage, is perfectly compatible with the B-theory.

      Well you explicitly talked of every single theory of change Now if your claim boils down to simply 4D unable to uphold AT kind of change then sure 4D denies that but it doesn't follow that they deny change period.

      And again as I've said I see no mention of how B-theoratic enduantism is any different from temporal part theories when it comes to there being A-T sense of Change.

      Like I said certainly Feser don't get into it.Usually in persistence debate Endurantism is formulated as thesis that Ordinary Objects persist by being Wholly Present. Taken this way it just is denial of thesis that object have temporal parts.
      Now, endurantist have to explain how whole objects have temporary properties
      there are many accounts of these available to B-theocratic endurantism but its simply isn't clear whether any of them supports A-T kind of change , like according to one account , the properties are had by whole objects,not some part of it,relative to times, so for example in case of some cup of coffee changing from hot to being cold what happens it that it stands Eternally in being-Hot relation to one time and being-Cold relation to another these relations Always remain fixed.

      Still other account instead relativise the way these properties are had at different times.

      There are some other ways too, but taken from A-T perspective this picture seem no different from 4D. Its just that instead of some part possessing the properties the whole somehow posses it.
      So there don't seem to be any B-theocratic Endurantism that Allows some merely potential state to become actual.

      Al I mean is that time passes from one moment to the next. The issue isn’t if B-theorists agree on a successive ordering of events, it’s whether or not a successive order of events is enough to account for temporal passage. And this is contrary to your claim that the majority of B-Theorists don’t entirely deny that temporal passage occurs.

      Again what do you mean by "passes" , of course if you by this you just mean the kind of passage available on presentism then of course I've explicitly stated that they deny it , so no contradiction on my part.

      This is just begging the question in that you are assuming that there can even be one thing above all these parts

      No , this is not. This part should be linked to part about Universalism.

      Ockahm’s razor aside, this means that change really is an illusion. Any distinctions between different parts or stages being drawn here occur entirely in the mind. Change has no independent reality.

      How? From where above does that follow? It is not said that Any disjoint set of parts compose a whole in our minds the claim instead is that any parts what so ever objectively compose a whole. like I said if Universalism is true there objectively exist such things as My Pen+Sun+Jupiter. so I don't see how it follows that our minds are also these arbitrary collections of parts or stages.

      And it’s not enough to endorse universalism, you still need to posit some sort of additional relation to explain how parts or stages support or interact with one another.
      Why would that be? it is an Unrestricted account of composition so it doesn't need any criteria, if there is one particle here and one light years away they too would form a fusion.

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    31. Well you explicitly talked of every single theory of change Now if your claim boils down to simply 4D unable to uphold AT kind of change then sure 4D denies that but it doesn't follow that they deny change period.

      And again as I've said I see no mention of how B-theoratic enduantism is any different from temporal part theories when it comes to there being A-T sense of Change.


      I said that every single theory of change has to satistify the condition of something persists through the change. I then went on to specify that this would be enduring substances for Thomists. This counts as real change for them. There are no enduring substances in temporal parts theories. Feser had made this clear in his work. I’ve pointed out where he does so.

      Again what do you mean by "passes" , of course if you by this you just mean the kind of passage available on presentism then of course I've explicitly stated that they deny it , so no contradiction on my part.

      No, you said that B-theorists don’t deny that passage is entirely absent from their view. I pointed out that this is false. The majority of them either there is no thing as temporal passage. They either deny that we experience time passing or chalk it up to some sort of error due to our consciousness. A minority think that this is mistaken and that we can affirm temporal passage through some sort of objective succession of events. Temporal becoming has nothing to do with it.

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    32. No , this is not. This part should be linked to part about Universalism.

      This is a common criticism of temporal parts theory- it presupposes what it sets out to solve and doesn’t analyze it. Feser mentions this in Scholastic Metaphysics.

      From where above does that follow? It is not said that Any disjoint set of parts compose a whole in our minds the claim instead is that any parts what so ever objectively compose a whole

      What do you think is grouping parts together and deciding that they are objects? There is no objective fact of the matter between what we would call genuine objects and scattered objects, and change can only seem to apply to genuine objects. Yet this distinction is only made in the mind.

      My Pen+Sun+Jupiter. so I don't see how it follows that our minds are also these arbitrary collections of parts or stages.

      A mind is also made up of instantaneous parts or stages, but given universalism there are an infinite number of versions of it. There is separate version of a person for any given interval. There a version of a person that spans from one to two years old, five seconds on last Tuesday, a month from a year from now, five decades long, etc. Any version of a given mind is completely arbitrary in this regard.

      how parts or stages support or interact with one another.
      Why would that be? it is an Unrestricted account of composition so it doesn't need any criteria, if there is one particle here and one light years away they too would form a fusion.


      I’m referring to causal relations as well as composition. Particularly for consciousness, there has to be some explanation for why parts or stages are linked to together. Universalism won’t cut it in explaining why this relationship is special compared to a relationship with all other non-mental parts or stages.

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    33. I said that every single theory of change has to satistify the condition of something persists through the change. I then went on to specify that this would be enduring substances for Thomists. This counts as real change for them. There are no enduring substances in temporal parts theories. Feser had made this clear in his work. I’ve pointed out where he does so.

      But then your claim here turns out to be hardly interesting, I already explained that 4d theories don't deny that things persist through change, this entirely satisfies that criteria. If your "specific" claim then is that there are no enduring substances on 4d , why would they be?

      I have read Scholastic Meta , he doesn't make any clear claims about B-theory + Endurantism, and as I've explained above nothing about B-theocratic endurantism seem to have any significance for A-T change. on both 4D and 3D things persist in some sense , both satisfy that condition, so that isn't significant either.

      No, you said that B-theorists don’t deny that passage is entirely absent from their view. I pointed out that this is false. The majority of them either there is no thing as temporal passage. They either deny that we experience time passing or chalk it up to some sort of error due to our consciousness. A minority think that this is mistaken and that we can affirm temporal passage through some sort of objective succession of events. Temporal becoming has nothing to do with it.

      No, All of them affirm a succession view. You still need to clarify what you mean by "passage". It is the A-theory kind of Temporal becoming that they deny we experience or chalk it up to some sort of error due to our consciousness not change or passage period.

      What do you think is grouping parts together and deciding that they are objects? There is no objective fact of the matter between what we would call genuine objects and scattered objects, and change can only seem to apply to genuine objects. Yet this distinction is only made in the mind.

      Well like I said this is an unrestricted theory of composition, there is no special criteria in it of when some parts will compose a whole or when not. they Always form wholes. On this view there are no such things as scattered objects in the strict sense, Atoms composing me also take part in composing many other objects and I am further part of another object but how does that follow that distinction between me and all those objects is all in mind?

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    34. A mind is also made up of instantaneous parts or stages, but given universalism there are an infinite number of versions of it. There is separate version of a person for any given interval. There a version of a person that spans from one to two years old, five seconds on last Tuesday, a month from a year from now, five decades long, etc. Any version of a given mind is completely arbitrary in this regard.

      Yes, there are many versions of it but they too make a bigger version . Here you might be conflating our only caring about some objects with the those objects being mind dependent. The fact that while in the kitchen I only care about Fridge,Freezer and Dishwasher and not about Fridge+Freezer+Dishwasher doesn't mean that they are arbitrary it just mean that they all are there and I care about only some of them. in this case I only care about individual parts of Fridge+Freezer+Dishwasher.

      I’m referring to causal relations as well as composition. Particularly for consciousness, there has to be some explanation for why parts or stages are linked to together. Universalism won’t cut it in explaining why this relationship is special compared to a relationship with all other non-mental parts or stages.

      About a Mind we can say that it is an object that cares about itself. of course as you observed above that There is separate version of a person for any given interval. but this doesn't mean that there isn't a further one which consists of all of them. This doesn't mean that these stages are all mind-dependent but only that they all are there..

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    35. Besides there might be some other ways of picking out wholes from parts, perhaps they can appeal to a Brute fact account of composition, such a view has been defended, and it would allow a simple solution to the problem.

      They might say that its a matter of brute fact that when some parts compose a whole.

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    36. There is no such thing as an "appeal to brute fact". There are no such things as brute facts, rejection of PSR is irrational. And even IF someone rejects PSR, there is still no such thing as an "appeal to brute fact", for the simple fact that an appeal to a brute fact is a desperate last move. It is not an explanation of anything, it is literally an admission of defeat, an admission that whatever model one is defending cannot actually account for the thing in question; it is, necessarily, a huge loss in plausibility. "Appeals to brute facts" would literally lead to a halt in philosophical discussion, it is a desperate move that can never be preferred to a possible, working explanation.

      If the theory has to make a fucking "appeal to a brute fact", then it is a sign that it's not a good theory, if anything.

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    37. I have a friend who is a die-hard B theorist and an even more die-hard proponent of thomistic metaphysics, and he in fact thinks B theory is better for the AT framework. He also accepts the first way. I'll make sure to ask him about the first way and change in relation to B theory when I get the chance.

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    38. Miguel,

      Couple of things,

      1. I am not claiming that everyone has to accept such theory only listing a possible option if one doesn't accept Universalism and is looking for a restricted view of composition. like I said such a view has been independently defended look up "Brutal Composition" By Ned Markosian.

      Defender of such view don't just willy-nilly declare their conclusions, they first try to show that no other view is satisfactory, so its not Philosophically insincere and uninteresting to that extent. If you look for it you might not find any uniquely rational, exceptionally safe and sane account when it comes to problem of composition, they all have some sort of problems with them.

      And most importantly this won't violate the Kind of PSR required by LCA , All this would entail is that for example if You Put together same two atoms in two different world then in one world they might compose a molecule but they might not in another. This is what the view claims that there is no explanation for when do some plurality of objects compose a whole.

      LCA can be run by taking many different relata of explanation like events, States etc. not necessarily objects and even if it did then all that would follow for LCA is that instead of there being a unified object every time, some times there a plurality of atoms needing explanation. this is why even a Nihilist View of composition under which No composite object exists directly undermines LCA, it might damage Neo-platonic proof though.


      2. Thats nice again I don't claim that there is no way those two views can be accepted together but still there are problem worth addressing.

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    39. Miguel November 13, 2017 at 1:30 PM

      "There is no such thing as an "appeal to brute fact". There are no such things as brute facts,"
      --Ok, I define material existence as necessary. Material existence is the thing that could not fail to exist.

      This is not a brute fact because there no such things as brute facts. Material existence simply had to be so it always has existed and always will exist.

      Case closed.

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    40. @Miguel,


      Wait, does a B-theory of time accept the existence of modalities?


      More specifically, does a full fledged 4D block universe that even denies there is such a thing as a direction of time accept the distinction between reality and possibility, that is, that a certain possibility could have been actualised but simply wasn't?


      I'm asking primarily because I want to see if the argument from logical possibilities for the existence of God depends on a given theory of time.

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    41. But then your claim here turns out to be hardly interesting, I already explained that 4d theories don't deny that things persist through change, this entirely satisfies that criteria. If your "specific" claim then is that there are no enduring substances on 4d , why would they be?

      I don’t know how much clearer I can make this. They are substances in endurantism. There are no substances in perdurantism and exdurantism, or at least Feser doesn’t think so. That’s a pretty big deal when it comes to Thomism. But given substances, all the types of change that he lists in Five Proofs would still occur under the B-Theory and endurantism. We would still have changes that are qualitative, quantitative, substantial, etc. This just wouldn’t occur in a tensed manner.

      I have read Scholastic Meta , he doesn't make any clear claims about B-theory + Endurantism, and as I've explained above nothing about B-theocratic endurantism seem to have any significance for A-T change. on both 4D and 3D things persist in some sense , both satisfy that condition, so that isn't significant either.

      All theories claim to allow things to persist, but Feser doesn’t think that temporal parts theories work. That’s the whole point of his section on four-dimensionalism.

      No, All of them affirm a succession view. You still need to clarify what you mean by "passage". It is the A-theory kind of Temporal becoming that they deny we experience or chalk it up to some sort of error due to our consciousness not change or passage period.

      Some would affirm a succession view. Some would deny that time has a direction so there isn’t actually an objective succession of events. But even among those who would affirm it, most wouldn’t say that this counts as temporal passage. Time doesn’t pass from moment to moment. I don't know why you keep bringing up temporal becoming. I've already said its not relevant. If you've read Earman then you know that's what not's being talked about. At minimum, it's the claim that there is some sort of dynamism within the block universe.

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    42. Well like I said this is an unrestricted theory of composition, there is no special criteria in it of when some parts will compose a whole or when not. they Always form wholes. On this view there are no such things as scattered objects in the strict sense, Atoms composing me also take part in composing many other objects and I am further part of another object but how does that follow that distinction between me and all those objects is all in mind?

      They always form wholes, but we can’t help but distinguish between genuine objects that undergo change and scattered objects that don’t. When I consider the history of my house, for example, it seems to have a history of actual change. A random combination of temporal parts does not. The same goes for things like consciousness. So you are left with a problem. One, there is no difference between these different types of change. Any special status I assign is an error on my part. But this would seem problematic since it would imply that there is a whole lot of change going on that I wasn’t aware of before I subscribed to universalism. All this cashes out to is that points in space-time are different from one another. That’s an observation, not an explanation of the philosophical problem of change since nothing changes intrinsically. Two, there is something to genuine change that universalism can’t explain. If so, there doesn’t seem to be a need to posit universalism to begin with since it isn’t actually doing any explanatory work. But then temporal parts theories are left without an explanation for explaining the composition of objects.

      Yes, there are many versions of it but they too make a bigger version . Here you might be conflating our only caring about some objects with the those objects being mind dependent.

      The fact of the matter is that there is no way of determining which version is the correct version of my mind. This view of composition fails right out of the gate because I experience consciousness in a specific sort of way, not as a random collection of temporal parts.

      About a Mind we can say that it is an object that cares about itself. of course as you observed above that There is separate version of a person for any given interval. but this doesn't mean that there isn't a further one which consists of all of them. This doesn't mean that these stages are all mind-dependent but only that they all are there.

      I don’t see how this helps anything. Why should my mind caring about itself give it some sort of special relationship versus it caring about other things? What metaphysical power does caring have? Furthermore, you’ll have to explain how something with zero duration can be made aware of the other parts that are linked to it and give them some special status in a way that is not specified by universalism. And it can’t be my whole mind giving each temporal part special status since I exist in time and my mind can’t exist above the B-series. And it does make everything mind-dependent since you are using the very same mind to ground its metaphysical status.

      Besides there might be some other ways of picking out wholes from parts, perhaps they can appeal to a Brute fact account of composition, such a view has been defended, and it would allow a simple solution to the problem.

      Yeah, I second Miguel’s objection. Brute facts aren’t simple and this would render the universe unintelligible on a massive scale. You’ll have to posit a brute fact for every object in the universe at minimum. It’s crazy.

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    43. I don’t know how much clearer I can make this. They are substances in endurantism. There are no substances in perdurantism and exdurantism, or at least Feser doesn’t think so.

      What do you mean There are no substances in perdurantism and exdurantism? Again You've been already explained that its just not true that nothing persists on 4D , If all you're saying is that Dr.Feser disagrees with it then that is hardly interesting claim, Again he also never claims there being such things on B-theocratic endurantism. He has made abundantly clear that what he thinks change is, cannot be reconciled with B-theory he is very explicit on this there is no mention of an option of B-theocratic Endurantism here by him, why he would simply omit that if thats such a big deal?
      Thats why your next passage just doesn't make sense because it is outright contradicted by him.

      That’s a pretty big deal when it comes to Thomism. But given substances, all the types of change that he lists in Five Proofs would still occur under the B-Theory and endurantism. We would still have changes that are qualitative, quantitative, substantial, etc. This just wouldn’t occur in a tensed manner.

      All theories claim to allow things to persist, but Feser doesn’t think that temporal parts theories work. That’s the whole point of his section on four-dimensionalism.

      When It comes to change he probably doesn't think anything other that some version or other of A-theory works , so the discussion of Persistence is pretty irrelevant in the first place. B-theocratic endurantism and Temporal Parts theories both are in the same boat for his intents and purposes.

      Some would affirm a succession view. Some would deny that time has a direction so there isn’t actually an objective succession of events. But even among those who would affirm it, most wouldn’t say that this counts as temporal passage. Time doesn’t pass from moment to moment.

      I am using succession in a weak sense so whether there is objective direction or not is irrelevant , Whats important is that there is one state if affairs at one time and a different one at another.

      Perhaps you're right that some deny it , but such an option is still available for others to accept..

      I don't know why you keep bringing up temporal becoming. I've already said its not relevant.

      Then what do you mean by pass from moment to moment ?

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    44. They always form wholes, but we can’t help but distinguish between genuine objects that undergo change and scattered objects that don’t. When I consider the history of my house, for example, it seems to have a history of actual change. A random combination of temporal parts does not. The same goes for things like consciousness. So you are left with a problem. One, there is no difference between these different types of change. Any special status I assign is an error on my part. But this would seem problematic since it would imply that there is a whole lot of change going on that I wasn’t aware of before I subscribed to universalism. All this cashes out to is that points in space-time are different from one another. That’s an observation, not an explanation of the philosophical problem of change since nothing changes intrinsically. Two, there is something to genuine change that universalism can’t explain. If so, there doesn’t seem to be a need to posit universalism to begin with since it isn’t actually doing any explanatory work. But then temporal parts theories are left without an explanation for explaining the composition of objects.

      Here you need to clarify what you mean by terms like actual change, changing intrinsically, genuine change , what that something is that you think has been left unexplained? for 4D There being Different state of affairs at different times is sufficient for change.

      The fact of the matter is that there is no way of determining which version is the correct version of my mind. This view of composition fails right out of the gate because I experience consciousness in a specific sort of way, not as a random collection of temporal parts.

      This worry boils down to this one.

      I don’t see how this helps anything. Why should my mind caring about itself give it some sort of special relationship versus it caring about other things? What metaphysical power does caring have?

      The minds caring about itself is special and different in the sense that it is an exercise of its power of perception.

      Furthermore, you’ll have to explain how something with zero duration can be made aware of the other parts that are linked to it and give them some special status in a way that is not specified by universalism. And it can’t be my whole mind giving each temporal part special status since I exist in time and my mind can’t exist above the B-series. And it does make everything mind-dependent since you are using the very same mind to ground its metaphysical status.

      I don't understand that part of this passage.

      Yeah, I second Miguel’s objection. Brute facts aren’t simple and this would render the universe unintelligible on a massive scale. You’ll have to posit a brute fact for every object in the universe at minimum. It’s crazy.

      I've already remarked on these kinds of worries , This doesn't seem same kind of problematic brute fact , its not even relevant to Cosmological argument as I've explained. this is only about explanation of when does composition occur? Question.

      And this is not all, there might still be other Accounts, Maybe 4Dists can take a page out of A-T book and endorse a kind of Hylemorphism which encompass both spatial and temporal parts
      , so some temporal parts make a whole when they take on a certain form.

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    45. What do you mean There are no substances in perdurantism and exdurantism?

      Do you not know what substances are? What’s so mysterious about that sentence?

      Again You've been already explained that its just not true that nothing persists on 4D , If all you're saying is that Dr.Feser disagrees with it then that is hardly interesting claim

      Of course it’s interesting. Two people may agree on something like moral realism, which means that they agree that there are moral facts and moral values. But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t real differences between things like ethical naturalism and ethical non-naturalism. The same goes for persistence claims. And I’m well aware that four-dimensionalists think that something persists. But they are wrong, and you have given me no good reason to think otherwise.

      He has made abundantly clear that what he thinks change is, cannot be reconciled with B-theory he is very explicit on this there is no mention of an option of B-theocratic Endurantism here by him, why he would simply omit that if thats such a big deal?

      You’re just repeating stuff that I’ve already addressed. And this is simply confused. Feser doesn’t say that it is the B-Theory that is denying change. It is the B-Theory denying temporal passage that he thinks is the problem. If you deny temporal passage, then you don’t have a way to measure change. I’ve already provided a direct quote that to this effect. And he specifically states in the end notes that it is temporal parts theories that deny real change and not endurantism. All temporal passage is providing a measure change. That’s all the A-Theory is doing.

      I am using succession in a weak sense so whether there is objective direction or not is irrelevant , Whats important is that there is one state if affairs at one time and a different one at another.

      Irrelevant. Look, you were wrong to say that most B-theorists don’t deny temporal passage entirely. Most b-theorists explicitly deny temporal passage, even if they agree on an ordering of events. They just don’t think that you can get from the second to the first.

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    46. Here you need to clarify what you mean by terms like actual change, changing intrinsically, genuine change , what that something is that you think has been left unexplained? for 4D There being Different state of affairs at different times is sufficient for change

      It’s pretty clear from the example I gave- my house versus a random collection of temporal parts. Certain things seem to stand in direct causal relation to one another. And look at how meaningless your analysis of change has become. Every possible combination of parts in the universe is an object. Every part is in some sense different from all other parts. All you are left with is the statement that different things in the universe are different. Your account of objects and change is vacuous. If everything is an object and everything changes then nothing really does.

      The minds caring about itself is special and different in the sense that it is an exercise of its power of perception.

      This is just a restatement of what you originally said. How does perceiving something make something metaphysically special? What are the mechanics behind it? Why does this work on only my mind and nothing else that my mind perceives? And you still haven’t explained how something with zero duration can be made aware of the other parts or stages that are linked to it and give them some special status in a way that is not specified by universalism, or how you can use the mind as a whole to perceive every temporal part at once. And if it did, why am I not aware of all my mental states at once?

      I've already remarked on these kinds of worries , This doesn't seem same kind of problematic brute fact , its not even relevant to Cosmological argument as I've explained. this is only about explanation of when does composition occur?

      All brute facts are problematic. It still means that facts of the matter are still in principle unexplainable. It’s still a non-answer and a cop-out. I wouldn’t accept brute facts for other areas of philosophical inquiry. Why should I do so in this case?

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    47. Do you not know what substances are? What’s so mysterious about that sentence?

      The question isn't about what they are , its about what you mean by , They are substances in endurantism. There are no substances in perdurantism and exdurantism?

      Of course it’s interesting. Two people may agree on something like moral realism, which means that they agree that there are moral facts and moral values. But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t real differences between things like ethical naturalism and ethical non-naturalism. The same goes for persistence claims.

      But there simply seems to be no support from Feser denies 4D to Feser accepts B-theory+3D which what your overall claim is , that is why whether or not he agrees with 4D is hardly interesting thing to note here. What you need is that the reasons he denies 4D are absent on B-Endurantism , that it supports the overall conclusion that there is potentiality in the world.

      And I’m well aware that four-dimensionalists think that something persists. But they are wrong, and you have given me no good reason to think otherwise.

      What do you want ? You've been explained how your claims about there being no persistence and no change on 4D is mistaken or at least not obviously true , whether Ed agrees with this is irrelevant. You literally want me to sell you 4D and completely debug it within combox discussion? Thats not even fair and not even humanly possible.

      You’re just repeating stuff that I’ve already addressed. And this is simply confused. Feser doesn’t say that it is the B-Theory that is denying change. It is the B-Theory denying temporal passage that he thinks is the problem. If you deny temporal passage, then you don’t have a way to measure change. I’ve already provided a direct quote that to this effect.

      No, You are just repeating the stuff I've already addressed. Feser explicitly used said that what he thinks is real change is absent from world as described by B-theory , it just cannot be reconciled with it. And also in the quote you provided above :

      “there is, just as Aristotelians hold, an essential connection between time, change, and the actualization of a potential, so that to deny one is to deny the others. The idea is that the block universe rules out the reality of time, or at least of temporal passage. But temporal passage follows upon change, so that if there is no temporal passage then there can be no change either.”

      Does he say here that block world denies both change and temporal passage , Yes (contrary to you) , Does he say that its only B-theory denying temporal passage thats the problem? No (contrary to you) , Does he say that when we accept B-theocratic Endurantism then all problems are solved , Again No.

      And he specifically states in the end notes that it is temporal parts theories that deny real change and not endurantism.

      Not Endurantism is your own invention , he simply talks about Temporal Part theories in that end note.

      Irrelevant. Look, you were wrong to say that most B-theorists don’t deny temporal passage entirely. Most b-theorists explicitly deny temporal passage, even if they agree on an ordering of events. They just don’t think that you can get from the second to the first.

      Depends on what you mean by passage , if you mean that new moments are being added to the world or old ones are being subtracted ,then Yes , They deny it and I haven't denied that, but like I said many of them think that ordering is all there is to the passage hence an adoption of deflationary approach.

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    48. It’s pretty clear from the example I gave- my house versus a random collection of temporal parts. Certain things seem to stand in direct causal relation to one another.

      I don't understand how that is any more clear then before? And if by "thing" you mean objects then those need not necessarily be only relata of causation, maybe only Events stand in causal relations.

      And look at how meaningless your analysis of change has become. Every possible combination of parts in the universe is an object. Every part is in some sense different from all other parts. All you are left with is the statement that different things in the universe are different. Your account of objects and change is vacuous. If everything is an object and everything changes then nothing really does.

      That need not follow too , not every thing is supposed to have temporal parts so not everything needs to change , like God being non-spatio temporal can't have temporal parts so can't be said to change, or take part in fusion of temporal parts under universalism like other objects.

      This is just a restatement of what you originally said. How does perceiving something make something metaphysically special? What are the mechanics behind it? Why does this work on only my mind and nothing else that my mind perceives?

      What do you mean? Don't you think that mind is essentially perceptive object and not those other objects?

      And you still haven’t explained how something with zero duration can be made aware of the other parts or stages that are linked to it and give them some special status in a way that is not specified by universalism,

      Its because I don't understand this question.

      or how you can use the mind as a whole to perceive every temporal part at once. And if it did, why am I not aware of all my mental states at once?

      Why does mind need to perceive every part all at once? The content can be grounded in each one at each time .


      All brute facts are problematic. It still means that facts of the matter are still in principle unexplainable. It’s still a non-answer and a cop-out. I wouldn’t accept brute facts for other areas of philosophical inquiry. Why should I do so in this case?


      That just amounts to stomping the foot , You might accept it in this case if there is no other satisfactory answer to the composition question, its a simplest restricted account of composition, its intuitively plausible ( we don't usually expect there to be explanation of why collection of parts compose a whole called Cat , but a collection of baseball bat , a cap and a cat don't compose any further object) and It doesn't seem to have any of those unpalatable consequences that accepting brute facts in context of LCA have. And If you still don't like it there is another restricted option available in 4D friendly Hylemorphism.

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    49. I’m going to put aside the discussion about how persistence works because I don’t think it's going anywhere and I don't think that your'e going to be able to give me any answers that I haven’t heard before.

      But there simply seems to be no support from Feser denies 4D to Feser accepts B-theory+3D which what your overall claim is

      That’s not my claim. My claim is that given Feser’s argument that an absence of temporal passage is what rules out real change in a block universe, a B-theorist who both affirms who is both an endurantist and affirms some sort of temporal passage would still be able to affirm real change. Now Feser probably doesn’t agree with me that a B-theorist can affirm temporal passage. But that’s okay. I am well within my rights to disagree with him on this issue.

      What do you want ? You've been explained how your claims about there being no persistence and no change on 4D is mistaken or at least not obviously true , whether Ed agrees with this is irrelevant.

      No, I’m just pointing out that you can’t use the fact that temporal parts theorists think that they really have persistence is enough to show that Thomists are wrong in disagreeing with them that they really have persistence.

      No, You are just repeating the stuff I've already addressed. Feser explicitly used said that what he thinks is real change is absent from world as described by B-theory , it just cannot be reconciled with it. And also in the quote you provided above

      If Feser thought that B-theory ruled out real change outright, he would have said that it rules out both change and temporal passage at the same time, not that it rules out change via temporal passage. There are two parts to his argument. One, real change requires that an object can gain and lose properties as well as persist through the change. Temporal parts fail this test but endurantism succeeds. Now endurantism can occur on A-theory or B-theory and we can have real change on either, but we’re not finished. Two, in order to keep track of real change we need temporal passage. According to him but not to me, the A-theory plus endurantism passes this test while the B-theory plus endurantism doesn’t. This is where I disagree. I think that you can have real temporal passage on the B-theory. I am disagreeing with Feser here. I am not saying that he secretly agrees with me. Given that, there's no real problem with a block universe.

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    50. If Feser thought that B-theory ruled out real change outright, he would have said that it rules out both change and temporal passage at the same time, not that it rules out change via temporal passage.

      Actually it seems for him there is essential connection between them , to deny one is to deny the others , he state that "temporal passage follows upon change so in this sense it seems the change is prior so If the passage is ruled out then its the indication that change has already been ruled out.

      And Anyway , I would like to note that I don't find it plausible that he would miss out on such a simple way to make A-T Change consistent with B-theory.

      There are two parts to his argument. One, real change requires that an object can gain and lose properties as well as persist through the change. Temporal parts fail this test but endurantism succeeds. Now endurantism can occur on A-theory or B-theory and we can have real change on either, but we’re not finished. Two, in order to keep track of real change we need temporal passage. According to him but not to me, the A-theory plus endurantism passes this test while the B-theory plus endurantism doesn’t. This is where I disagree. I think that you can have real temporal passage on the B-theory. I am disagreeing with Feser here. I am not saying that he secretly agrees with me. Given that, there's no real problem with a block universe.

      But Here it seems that B-theoretic Endurantism isn't consistent with first one of your criteria, given that Enduring objects under B-theory can not gain or lose Properties in any ontologically robust sense, under certain B-theoratic endurantism Endurantism all these temporary properties are relational properties , so objects merely stand in different relations to different times and these relational facts always remain fixed (if they weren't then this wouldn't be B-theory), for example Coffee stands in being hot at t1 , being cold at t2 relation , its never the case that in a robust sense the coffee was hotwill be cold, is just that it is hot earlier than ..... or Cold later than ....... How is there any kind of real change for A-T in this picture ,any kind of actualization of once a potentiality ?

      Some other variants of Endurantism try to not relativise the properties to times in this way but the ways these properties are possessed, but again under that the properties again never change in any relevant sense, there are still other versions of Endurantism but none of them to the extent that they are B-theoratic permits some gain or loss .

      so If the complaint with 4D was that temporal properties never change their properties then same complain applies in different form here too.

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    51. Actually it seems for him there is essential connection between them , to deny one is to deny the others , he state that "temporal passage follows upon change so in this sense it seems the change is prior so If the passage is ruled out then its the indication that change has already been ruled out.

      I’ve always said that they are linked, but all this means is that temporal passage follows always change. It’s the measure of change. That’s all it is. It doesn’t add anything extra. B-theory rules out temporal passage, so by consequence it rules out change. Think of it like this. If it is always the case that B occurs after A, it doesn’t mean that I ruled out A prior to ruling out B. It just means that a consequence of ruling out B is also ruling out A.

      And Anyway , I would like to note that I don't find it plausible that he would miss out on such a simple way to make A-T Change consistent with B-theory.

      He already says why. He disagrees with me that B-theory is capable of temporal passage, so he doesn’t bother discussing it.

      But Here it seems that B-theoretic Endurantism isn't consistent with first one of your criteria, given that Enduring objects under B-theory can not gain or lose Properties in any ontologically robust sense

      It may be ontologically weaker, but it can still be ontologically robust enough for a Thomists purposes. B-theoretical endurantists all think that properties are held intrinsically by substances, and that’s the only bar I need to clear. So it’s only a question of if you think the third element that B-theorists bring in to deal alongside objects and their properties is stronger than the relation between said objects and properties. I happen to think that Lewi’s demand for property possession simpliciter is misguided, so I am unfazed by this objection. Other people think it’s a big deal. Plus in a per se causal series there are more things being actualized than things just standing in temporal relations.

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    52. I’ve always said that they are linked, but all this means is that temporal passage follows always change. It’s the measure of change. That’s all it is. It doesn’t add anything extra. B-theory rules out temporal passage, so by consequence it rules out change. Think of it like this. If it is always the case that B occurs after A, it doesn’t mean that I ruled out A prior to ruling out B. It just means that a consequence of ruling out B is also ruling out A.

      But thats weird. If passage is nothing really extra then it seems obvious that if passage is ruled out then change is already ruled out.

      He already says why. He disagrees with me that B-theory is capable of temporal passage, so he doesn’t bother discussing it.

      Yea, But it seems implausible to think that if all it takes by your account is accepting Endurantism to make B-theory consistent with A-T then he would not explore such an option , It can't be that he is unaware of it so it seems he has good reasons to think that such an account won't work And I agree.

      Plus you're not really proposing an alternate understanding of Change and Passage that is consistent with A-T, You more or less simply insist that there is relevant kind of change available on B-theory.

      It may be ontologically weaker, but it can still be ontologically robust enough for a Thomists purposes.

      That remains to be shown by you.

      B-theoretical endurantists all think that properties are held intrinsically by substances, and that’s the only bar I need to clear. So it’s only a question of if you think the third element that B-theorists bring in to deal alongside objects and their properties is stronger than the relation between said objects and properties. I happen to think that Lewi’s demand for property possession simpliciter is misguided, so I am unfazed by this objection. Other people think it’s a big deal.

      Thats simply false that all B-theoretical endurantists all think that properties are held intrinsically by substances, Like I observed above some either relativise property to times or Property possession to times so You would need to defend a particular version of Endurantism that allows that and even if we were to find a plausible B-Endurantism that was capable of doing that, again it isn't clear how simply having intrinsic temporary properties is sufficient for A-T change. No sense can still be made of an actualization of Potentiality. If having intrinsic properties is sufficient then they are also available on 4D , if temporal Parts don't change their properties then so doesn't Enduring Substances.

      Plus in a per se causal series there are more things being actualized than things just standing in temporal relations.

      But we would need to establish act/potency before constructing per se series .

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    53. Plus you're not really proposing an alternate understanding of Change and Passage that is consistent with A-T, You more or less simply insist that there is relevant kind of change available on B-theory.

      I can't see the text of Feser's essay in the Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives... collection but the summary in the introductory section contains the following:

      "Feser argues that the Aristotelian account of change is consistent with both the B Theory of time and with a wide variety of versions of the A Theory, in which case, the conflict between relativity and Aristotelian metaphysics would be only apparent."

      It then makes it seem like the core of the essay is demonstrating this:

      Even on the supposition that the Aristotelian account entailed the most extreme version of the A Theory, namely, Presentism, Feser contends that Aristotelianism would be consistent with the scientific core of special relativity.

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    54. No sense can still be made of an actualization of Potentiality.

      This is the part of your criticism I don't grasp.

      Supposing there are substances that are composites of being-in-act and being-in-potency as per the act/potency idea and we have a substance that is present at a number of locations t , then, if the substance can change and persist it seems like it can have a certain combination of being-in-act and being-in-potency at t1 and a different combination of being-in-act and being-in-potency at t2, t4 and so on.

      That a substance can have a particular combination of being-in-act and being-in-potency at one t location and that some of this being-in-potency is being-in-act at a later t location is the actualisation of a potency.

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    55. I can't see the text of Feser's essay in the Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives...

      Check the Routledge link in the post.

      "Feser argues that the Aristotelian account of change is consistent with both the B Theory of time and with a wide variety of versions of the A Theory, in which case, the conflict between relativity and Aristotelian metaphysics would be only apparent."


      This seems to be a mistake on Editor's part because

      a) The user "Freakazoid" says he has read the paper and he says he disagrees with Feser when he argues that A-T kind of change is consistent with B-theory.

      b) In the preview of paper itself this can be read .

      "Naturally, since temporal passage and thus (the Aristotelian argues) real change would be absent from the world as described by B-theory, the theory cannot to that extent be reconciled with Aristotelianism"

      What he then says is that although change is absent from B-theory , act/potency itself need not be.

      Supposing there are substances that are composites of being-in-act and being-in-potency as per the act/potency idea and we have a substance that is present at a number of locations t , then, if the substance can change and persist it seems like it can have a certain combination of being-in-act and being-in-potency at t1 and a different combination of being-in-act and being-in-potency at t2, t4 and so on.

      That a substance can have a particular combination of being-in-act and being-in-potency at one t location and that some of this being-in-potency is being-in-act at a later t location is the actualisation of a potency.


      Here first consider what being-in-potency means for some object , It means having the ability to bring about some non-actual state of affairs ... but given B-theory no non-actual state of affairs are ever brought about. All of the world's history is always there as the past, present and future are equally real.

      For example consider there is presently a hot cup of coffee which is cooling down. Can we say that the Cup is potentially cold? No, it seems . because the time at which coffee is cold is as much actual as the present moment.

      so we need to establish that its possible for something to be in Potency before we can talk about there being a substance which can have a particular combination of being-in-act and being-in-potency at different times.

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    56. Check out this latest Post From Dr.Pruss

      http://alexanderpruss.blogspot.com/2017/11/a-non-reductive-eternalist-theory-of.html

      Maybe this can make act/potency consistent with B-theory but I don't understand much in that post. So I don't know if this will work or not.

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    57. (I don't know if there are some terminology/definition issues here...)

      Here first consider what being-in-potency means for some object , It means having the ability to bring about some non-actual state of affairs ... but given B-theory no non-actual state of affairs are ever brought about.

      Being-in-potency includes the forms a substance can take on and its capacity to manifest these forms. It seems hard to translate 'no non-actual state of affairs can ever be brought about' into the A-T view because any state of affairs that exists outside of being an imagined concept in a mind has to be a being-in-potency and being-in-act composite; if it isn't and it is only actual this would mean that it is pure actuality i.e. that it is God.

      All of the world's history is always there as the past, present and future are equally real.

      As far as I understand it, from the A-T perspective being-in-potency and being-in-act are both considered to be real and to exist, but in different ways. In these terms if all the world's history is equally real i.e. exists in an identical way, it would be saying that past, present and future are indistinguishable from one another.

      For example consider there is presently a hot cup of coffee which is cooling down. Can we say that the Cup is potentially cold? No, it seems . because the time at which coffee is cold is as much actual as the present moment.

      Again, at least in A-T terms the idea of a hot cup of coffee which is cooling down over time yet while hot has no potency to become cooler seems incoherent. If the water (in this coffee case) had no being-in-potency for changing temperature it could never change temperature throughout its existence. If the coffee is equally actual in respect of temperature at one moment as at another later moment, this is saying that it remains the same temperature in both of those moments.

      so we need to establish that its possible for something to be in Potency before we can talk about there being a substance which can have a particular combination of being-in-act and being-in-potency at different times.

      I think it's important to look at how Aristotle arrived at the Act/Potency distinction, what it is intended to be/do and so on. If it is impossible for something to be in potency in relation to its being in act change, persistence, the existence of multiplicity as opposed to unity (one single object) seem ruled out as well because these things are the origin/basis for the distinction; it is very closely tied in with the hylemorphic analysis of substances.

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    58. (I don't know if there are some terminology/definition issues here...)

      Yes , that is a an issue.

      Being-in-potency includes the forms a substance can take on and its capacity to manifest these forms.

      That just needlessly complicates the issue , taking on certain itself is a state of affairs , every thing said above still applies, so its better to stick with simpler instances of change.

      It seems hard to translate 'no non-actual state of affairs can ever be brought about' into the A-T view......

      I don't know what such "translation" would amount to , but perhaps I can clarify some other way.
      Try this , Think of what you take 'actuality' to be( I won't provide any reductive analysis of what actuality is here, but You can grasp what it is) , Now Given A-theory ( lets just take the most popular version of it, Presentism) Only one time can be said to be actual ,the present time so only what what exist presently can be said to exist actually, This "presentness" constantly changes and with it changes "actuality" , What was once non-actual can be said to be presently actual It can be said that what is presently non-actual will be actual. But given B-theory this "actuality" ranges over all the history, Past, Present , Future all are actual. was or will be are usually translated here into is-earlier than , is-later than.
      From the above perhaps it will become easier to see which theory permits act/potency which which one doesn't .

      Again, at least in A-T terms the idea of a hot cup of coffee which is cooling down over time yet while hot has no potency to become cooler seems incoherent. If the water (in this coffee case) had no being-in-potency for changing temperature it could never change temperature throughout its existence. If the coffee is equally actual in respect of temperature at one moment as at another later moment, this is saying that it remains the same temperature in both of those moments.

      The Hot cup can't be said to have potency to become cooler because the time at which it becomes cooler is as actual on B-theory as the present. Things would only seem incoherent if one deny that future is actual then suggest that cup has no potency. but given B-theory all that happens is that the objects posses these temporary properties , which can be accounted for in ones preferred theory of persistence .

      I think it's important to look at how Aristotle arrived at the Act/Potency distinction, what it is intended to be/do and so on. If it is impossible for something to be in potency in relation to its being in act change, persistence, the existence of multiplicity as opposed to unity (one single object) seem ruled out as well because these things are the origin/basis for the distinction; it is very closely tied in with the hylemorphic analysis of substances.

      You're right but one also have to look at how One would account for all of those features of the natural world if one doesn't allow there to be potency in it. As you can see from the above discussion , those features are analysed in variety of different ways by different metaphysicans and many different resources are available .

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    59. RedNovember 17, 2017 at 6:12 AM

      "The Hot cup can't be said to have potency to become cooler because the time at which it becomes cooler ..."
      --On contemporary science temperature is an indication of average molecular motion and its related average molecular kinetic energy. Here is a quick introduction to how contemporary science analyzes the subject:
      https://www.physics.utoronto.ca/~jharlow/teaching/everyday06/reading10.pdf

      Note that the Aristotelian naked eye concepts are not employed. Aristotelian descriptions of heat were obsoleted centuries ago.

      If you want to understand how things get hotter or colder forget Aristotle, he has nothing useful to say on the subject. Open a physics book instead.

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    60. a) The user "Freakazoid" says he has read the paper and he says he disagrees with Feser when he argues that A-T kind of change is consistent with B-theory.

      b) In the preview of paper itself this can be read .


      Feser says that the B-theory is still workable with Thomism, but he thinks that has to be done in a different way than the A-Theory. I disagree with him insofar as I think it can be done in the same way.

      But thats weird. If passage is nothing really extra then it seems obvious that if passage is ruled out then change is already ruled out.

      You did not understand what I said and are just repeating yourself. By ruling out A by first ruling out B, you cannot be ruling out A prior to ruling out B. If this wasn’t the case, you would rule out A and then rule out B or rule them out at the same time. Feser says that the B-theory rules out change via temporal passage, not that it rules them both out at the same time.

      But it seems implausible to think that if all it takes by your account is accepting Endurantism to make B-theory consistent with A-T

      That’s not what I said. I said that accepting endurantism with a form of B-theory that affirms temporal passage is necessary to make things consistent. Feser explicitly disagrees that B-theory can provide an account of temporal passage.

      That remains to be shown by you.

      Uh, you can’t complain about having to explain four-dimensionalism and then expect me to defend my account of change in detail, especially when you gave me such non-committal answers about how four dimensionalism was supposed to work. This isn’t fair at all.

      Like I observed above some either relativise property to times or Property possession to times so You would need to defend a particular version of Endurantism that allows that and even if we were to find a plausible B-Endurantism that was capable of doing that, again it isn't clear how simply having intrinsic temporary properties is sufficient for A-T change.

      I’m a constituent endurantist. A lot of modern Thomists who are B-theorists endorse something like this position. It doesn’t suffer from the same difficulties as relationalism or adverbialism. And by Feser’s definition having these different properties is real change.

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    61. t means having the ability to bring about some non-actual state of affairs ... but given B-theory no non-actual state of affairs are ever brought about

      That’s reading too much into it in your response to the other poster. All this means is that something needs to be non-actual at the time of said change. The coffee is cold at one moment and it is hot at the next. Both these statements are eternally true. This doesn’t mean that the coffee is hot at the same moment it is cold. You are mistaking a lack of change of the entire universe with a lack of change and thus act/potency within the universe

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    62. You did not understand what I said and are just repeating yourself. By ruling out A by first ruling out B, you cannot be ruling out A prior to ruling out B. If this wasn’t the case, you would rule out A and then rule out B or rule them out at the same time. Feser says that the B-theory rules out change via temporal passage, not that it rules them both out at the same time.

      But we're not ruling out A by first ruling out B, instead what Feser says is that B follows upon A so If A obtains only then can B obtains, this way when B is ruled out then so is A prior to that.

      That’s not what I said. I said that accepting endurantism with a form of B-theory that affirms temporal passage is necessary to make things consistent. Feser explicitly disagrees that B-theory can provide an account of temporal passage.

      But what do you even mean by temporal Passage like I said you simply insist on that point. Why do you think if such an account of temporal passage is readily available to B-theorists and can be made sense of per your insistence does he completely ignores it? That is what I am pointing out seems implausible to me.

      Uh, you can’t complain about having to explain four-dimensionalism and then expect me to defend my account of change in detail, especially when you gave me such non-committal answers about how four dimensionalism was supposed to work. This isn’t fair at all.

      Uh, you can’t complain about having to explain four-dimensionalism and then expect me to defend my account of change in detail, especially when you gave me such non-committal answers about how four dimensionalism was supposed to work. This isn’t fair at all.

      But there is a disparity here , I didn't come here to defend 4D , All my comments on 4D are in reply to your insistence that You think nothing persists or nothing changes. on 4D . I clearly explained that there is no way that is obviously true , and neither does 3D goes through the criteria you've so far mentioned , its pretty much as static for A-T intents and purposes as 4D.

      In reply again you simply insist But they are wrong, and you have given me no good reason to think otherwise. it is after that I've complained about having to explain myself.
      You on the other hand make utterly unsubstantiated claims about what is available or what is not on B-theory , Your thesis here is the one requiring defense You need to explain how if the relevant change is not available on 4D is it available on 3D , what you think temporal passage ,change etc are . how this vindicates act/potency. if all you came here to do is inform everyone about what you think then very well your job is done. but that is as uninteresting as it get.

      So you shoulder a much bigger burden here than me.

      I’m a constituent endurantist. A lot of modern Thomists who are B-theorists endorse something like this position. It doesn’t suffer from the same difficulties as relationalism or adverbialism. And by Feser’s definition having these different properties is real change.

      Here your use of a lot is certainly a big exaggeration I don't think there are many defenders of such a view , maybe one or two . and again you simply insist upon there being such a solution, again I am not asking for you to copy and paste entire literature but you simply do not point to how there is any significance in such an account.

      Your statement that And by Feser’s definition having these different properties is real change. is weird, what properties are you talking about?

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    63. All this means is that something needs to be non-actual at the time of said change. The coffee is cold at one moment and it is hot at the next. Both these statements are eternally true. This doesn’t mean that the coffee is hot at the same moment it is cold. You are mistaking a lack of change of the entire universe with a lack of change and thus act/potency within the universe

      I haven't said that coffee is hot and cold at the same moment , only that since both these times are actual the coldness of the coffee can't ever be said to be potential.

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    64. But we're not ruling out A by first ruling out B

      That’s exactly what we’re doing. Temporal passage follows change. B follows A. B-theory rules out change. B-theory rules out B. By ruling out temporal passage, we then rule out change. B-theory rules out B, so it then rules out A. You are confusing the fact of change being prior to temporal passage with how we go about ruling out change via temporal passage.

      But what do you even mean by temporal Passage like I said you simply insist on that point. Why do you think if such an account of temporal passage is readily available to B-theorists and can be made sense of per your insistence does he completely ignores it?

      Just because something is available doesn’t mean he thinks it works. Most B-theorists don’t think my account works. Temporal passage on B-theory simply means that time passes from one moment to the next. There is an ongoing process of change within the universe. I don’t see what is so hard to understand about this. You said that you’ve read Earman and the like, so you must have some sense of what they are talking about. It is a fact that most B-theorists explicitly deny that time passes in any sense whatsoever and say that change is static instead of ongoing, no matter their views on objective succession. In other words, most people don’t think such an account is readily available.

      But there is a disparity here , I didn't come here to defend 4D , All my comments on 4D are in reply to your insistence that You think nothing persists or nothing changes. on 4D . I clearly explained that there is no way that is obviously true

      This is a pretty low standard. Almost every single philosophical thesis isn’t obviously true or false. And you initially claimed that Feser had no idea what he was talking about in regards to change and four-dimensionalism, so don’t act like you weren’t making any strong claims to begin with.

      and neither does 3D goes through the criteria you've so far mentioned , its pretty much as static for A-T intents and purposes as 4D.

      Well, this isn’t obviously true either. You are going to have to show me that properties need to be held in both senses of simpliciter according to Thomism. The fact that there are Thomists who are B-theorists and endurantists speaks against your claim, as well as the fact that Feser never argues that B-theory as such rules out real change outright. The structure of his argument is at odds with what you are saying.

      In reply again you simply insist But they are wrong, and you have given me no good reason to think otherwise. it is after that I've complained about having to explain myself.

      You pointed towards explanations, but you certainly didn’t give me in depth defenses like the ones you want from me. If you want to show how four-dimensionalism is equivalent to endurantism for Thomists, then you ought to be able to show that it can account for change in any non-illusory way. The only responses you gave to my more important questions were that you didn’t understand them, appealed to brute facts, and brought in God to save your account of universalism. And the fact of the matter is if Feser agreed with you, he would have said so by saying that B-theory rules out change outright, not via temporal passage. If this wasn’t the case, he could base his whole argument on temporary intrinsic and leave it at that but he doesn’t.

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    65. You on the other hand make utterly unsubstantiated claims about what is available or what is not on B-theory. Your thesis here is the one requiring defense You need to explain how if the relevant change is not available on 4D is it available on 3D , what you think temporal passage ,change etc are . how this vindicates act/potency.

      This isn’t true. For example, I’ve named people who do think that real temporal passage is available on B-theory. And let me get this straight- I have to defend my account of temporal passage, change, substances, temporary intrinsics, and act/potency all in one combox? This is a ridiculously high standard for argumentation. People write entire books on these subjects. Despite your claims to the contrary, it is far from clear whether or not indexicalism, adverbialism, or other options is incompatible with a Thomistic account of change. There are Thomists who endorse versions of these accounts.

      gain I am not asking for you to copy and paste entire literature but you simply do not point to how there is any significance in such an account

      Honestly, it’s because I’m not hopeful on how productive this would be. It’s hard enough to point out some basic errors in your understanding of Feser’s article which you haven’t entirely read. How much more difficult is it going to be with something much more in depth? You’re demanding that I defend at least five different subject in depth. Not only is this difficult to do in a combox, but it is extremely inconsiderate towards my personal time. But anyways, Thomists think that given object is composed of some sort metaphysical parts via form and matter. Temporal parts theorists deny that objects have metaphysical. Persisting objects count as substances but are related to larger wholes of substances plus properties. These accidental unities exist at specific times but the intrinsic properties they possess are held by the form as a whole.

      I haven't said that coffee is hot and cold at the same moment , only that since both these times are actual the coldness of the coffee can't ever be said to be potential.

      Sure it can. Both these times are actual, but there are different things occurring at these times. There has to be something to the coffee while it is cold that will let it be hot or vice versa, and that it what is potential to it. It doesn’t just move from one state to another with some sort of explanation.

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    66. That’s exactly what we’re doing. Temporal passage follows change. B follows A. B-theory rules out change. B-theory rules out B. By ruling out temporal passage, we then rule out change. B-theory rules out B, so it then rules out A. You are confusing the fact of change being prior to temporal passage with how we go about ruling out change via temporal passage.

      Ok , but what alternate understanding do you propose that simply gets around all those problems and preserve what you want on B-theory?

      Just because something is available doesn’t mean he thinks it works. Most B-theorists don’t think my account works.

      Yes, and that is exactly why you need to be more specific and substantive in your claims , simply throwing our vague references won't work. You at minimum need to define coherently what you mean.

      Temporal passage on B-theory simply means that time passes from one moment to the next. There is an ongoing process of change within the universe. I don’t see what is so hard to understand about this.

      ???? Passage means time passes? buts that doesn't explain what it is at all , what does it mean for time to pass ? how does that leads to what A-T wants , the act/potency distinction ?
      Explaining this would probably take you to write two lines.

      You said that you’ve read Earman and the like, so you must have some sense of what they are talking about. It is a fact that most B-theorists explicitly deny that time passes in any sense whatsoever and say that change is static instead of ongoing, no matter their views on objective succession. In other words, most people don’t think such an account is readily available.

      This whole passage doesn't make sense, I am not talking about them I am talking about you, You claim that even if B-theory rules out passage it doesn't rule out change outright. its only the matter of accepting Endurantism. its about that I am asking you , if it was so simple why is this option completely ignored ? I am not talking about what B-theorists believe or don't its about your claims.

      And secondly here again its not about what B-theorists are talking about when they speak of passage , how does that help A-T?

      This is a pretty low standard. Almost every single philosophical thesis isn’t obviously true or false. And you initially claimed that Feser had no idea what he was talking about in regards to change and four-dimensionalism, so don’t act like you weren’t making any strong claims to begin with.

      Because thats the minimum that can be done in face of your assertions or the fact that you just don't think something works. And I certainly didn't come to defend such claim, that can only take place once I have read the paper.

      Well, this isn’t obviously true either. You are going to have to show me that properties need to be held in both senses of simpliciter according to Thomism.

      Well what I did show you is that whether one holds 4D or 3D both are equally static , no properties themselves are changed on either view. Nothing like act/potency makes sense.

      The fact that there are Thomists who are B-theorists and endurantists speaks against your claim,

      Irrelevant ,there aren't more than one or two. Unless such philosophers have defended proofs like first way , or the kind of change that it requires.You can point to that etc.

      as well as the fact that Feser never argues that B-theory as such rules out real change outright. The structure of his argument is at odds with what you are saying.

      But this would only support you if you described some alternate understanding of change , which you don't .

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    67. You pointed towards explanations, but you certainly didn’t give me in depth defenses like the ones you want from me

      First again I already demonstrated the disparity between your claims and mine and secondly its not like you have even pointed towards any explanation , you've simply insisted so far that you are right .

      If you want to show how four-dimensionalism is equivalent to endurantism for Thomists, then you ought to be able to show that it can account for change in any non-illusory way.

      No, I can show that what thomists call change isn't even available on endurantism to prove that point , I did that.

      The only responses you gave to my more important questions were that you didn’t understand them, appealed to brute facts, and brought in God to save your account of universalism.

      This is a pretty good indication that you are hell-bent on straw manning me. I have already explained that at least three times in this thread. its not like you offered any rebuttal and it was you who didn't want to continue the discussion on persistence.

      And the fact of the matter is if Feser agreed with you, he would have said so by saying that B-theory rules out change outright, not via temporal passage. If this wasn’t the case, he could base his whole argument on temporary intrinsic and leave it at that but he doesn’t.

      And if your claim had any plausibility He would at least consider such an easy option.

      This isn’t true. For example, I’ve named people who do think that real temporal passage is available on B-theory.

      But you've left entirely unsubstantiated how such a different conception of passage vindicates A-T change.

      And let me get this straight- I have to defend my account of temporal passage, change, substances, temporary intrinsics, and act/potency all in one combox? This is a ridiculously high standard for argumentation.

      No, but you have to at least coherently define those terms and show how they fit with A-T conception of change and how they lead to act/potency. like I observed , its not like you have even given a superficial explanation, you've simply insisted so far.

      But anyways, Thomists think that given object is composed of some sort metaphysical parts via form and matter. Temporal parts theorists deny that objects have metaphysical. Persisting objects count as substances but are related to larger wholes of substances plus properties. These accidental unities exist at specific times but the intrinsic properties they possess are held by the form as a whole.

      But this neither seems relevant to issue of change at hand or entirely correct. Suppose a temporal part theorists believe in Immanent Universals then you've got metaphysical parts on 4D. and again it isn't clear how this leads to act/potency distinction, it also depends on what work the notion of from is doing here, if that is supposed to follow upon act/potency then again that is needed to be defended with b-theory first , which you haven't.

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    68. Sure it can. Both these times are actual, but there are different things occurring at these times. There has to be something to the coffee while it is cold that will let it be hot or vice versa, and that it what is potential to it. It doesn’t just move from one state to another with[out?] some sort of explanation.

      But if both are occurring at different times , and both of them are actual , what sense does it make to call one of them actually occurring and the other potentially occurring ? There is simply no room for such a distinction here.

      There has to be something to the coffee while it is cold that will let it be hot or vice versa, and that it what is potential to it. It doesn’t just move from one state to another with[out?] some sort of explanation

      This doesn't even make sense , the cold coffee doesn't turn into anything , its like its cold here and hot there. similarly if by move you simply meant that one state is actual and the other is potential then that doesn't happen.

      The Bottom line is this, Your overall claim is that B-theory + Endurantism is compatible with A-T kind of change, there is no parallel claim made by me even if one grants you that I've failed to defend 4D that still won't lead any plausibility to your claim and it would remain as unsubstantiated as it is. IF all you wanted to do was inform everyone about your position then your job is done , but nothing much interesting has come out of it.. if you think such a view is worth defending but you don't have time right now maybe you can elaborate such a view some other time or elsewhere.

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    69. Passage means time passes? buts that doesn't explain what it is at all , what does it mean for time to pass ? how does that leads to what A-T wants , the act/potency distinction ?

      Look, either you have read Earman or you haven’t. If you have, you know what temporal passage means in this debate. If you haven’t, then why did you bother to quote him? I’ve already told you what time on B-theory consists of- an objective succession of events that acts as a mind independent measure of change. Most B-theorists don’t believe that time is a mind-independent measure of anything. And time doesn’t get you the act/potency distinction, it lets you measure change, which in turn is what gets you the act/potency distinction.

      You claim that even if B-theory rules out passage it doesn't rule out change outright. its only the matter of accepting Endurantism

      I don’t claim it, it’s exactly how Feser’s argument is laid out. And he explicitly says that he believes B-theory denies temporal passage, so it’s not a legitimate option for him.

      Because thats the minimum that can be done in face of your assertions or the fact that you just don't think something works.

      I didn’t even do that. I made specific arguments against four-dimensionalism and why it can’t account for change. And if you didn’t come here to defend a claim against that Feser and four-dimensionalism, then why did you make the claim to begin with and especially when you hadn’t even read the chapter?

      Well what I did show you is that whether one holds 4D or 3D both are equally static , no properties themselves are changed on either view.

      Well, you only cited a couple of common criticisms of B-theory and endurantism. Then you linked to a post from Alexander Pruss that shows how change is not reductive or static on B-theory since change is having an interval of time such that the object is one way at the beginning and another way at the other end. It gives us dynamism with the universe even if the entire timeline as a whole doesn’t change.

      Irrelevant ,there aren't more than one or two. Unless such philosophers have defended proofs like first way , or the kind of change that it requires.You can point to that et

      You think that there are at most two Thomists in the world that are B-theorists? Even if you limit this to professionals, this is flat out-false.

      First again I already demonstrated the disparity between your claims and mine and secondly its not like you have even pointed towards any explanation

      So because I make so called bigger claims I have to defend five different subjects at once, but because you make a smaller claim you don’t even have to defend one subject? Again, this isn’t fair at all.

      And if your claim had any plausibility He would at least consider such an easy option.

      Look, you can’t have it both ways. Feser can’t both neglect to mention B-theory and temporal passage because it’s not even an option and fail to make an easy argument from temporary intrinsics that would tremendously help his case. I can point to specific parts of his chapter to support what I’m saying and why he doesn’t consider my option. You can’t do the same.

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    70. But this neither seems relevant to issue of change at hand or entirely correct. Suppose a temporal part theorists believe in Immanent Universals then you've got metaphysical parts on 4D. and again it isn't clear how this leads to act/potency distinction, it also depends on what work the notion of from is doing here, if that is supposed to follow upon act/potency then again that is needed to be defended with b-theory first , which you haven't.?

      Most temporal parts theorists follow Lewis and reject metaphysical parts because they endorse temporal parts. Armstrong regards himself as something of an Aristotelian in this respect and is not indicative of the standard approach. So if you are going to say that you can believe in immanent universals on four-dimensionalism, then you will have to show how you can take an Aristotelian basis for immanent universals and use it without any reference to real change plus act/potency on four-dimensionalism. And my account is relevant because it shows how real change occurs intrinsically by forms gaining and losing properties over time.

      But if both are occurring at different times , and both of them are actual , what sense does it make to call one of them actually occurring and the other potentially occurring ? There is simply no room for such a distinction here

      Just because something is actual at one time doesn’t mean that has no potentialities that will actualized at a subsequent time. The coffee is actually cold, but it is still the case that at that second it has a potential to be hot in the next second. Similarly, when the coffee is hot at one second it is also the case that it has the potential to be cold in the next second.

      This doesn't even make sense , the cold coffee doesn't turn into anything , its like its cold here and hot there. similarly if by move you simply meant that one state is actual and the other is potential then that doesn't happen.

      And why is it cold and then hot? None of your proposed explanations will work. Universalism boils down to simply observing that something that we just happen to call cold coffee and something that we call hot coffee are different. Brute facts are a non-explanation. There are no substances on temporal parts theories so you can’t have forms. You have given no account of causal relations and the way that you phrase your answer denies them. If there is nothing that connects the cold coffee and the hot coffee, you can’t even say that they are the same thing and that something has even changed.

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    71. Hi Red,

      That just needlessly complicates the issue , taking on certain itself is a state of affairs , every thing said above still applies, so its better to stick with simpler instances of change.

      I don’t know if it is unnecessarily complicated but if we are discussing act/potency in A-T terms we will need to use A-T terminology. Earlier you presented a definition of what being-in-potency means:

      Here first consider what being-in-potency means for some object , It means having the ability to bring about some non-actual state of affairs ... but given B-theory no non-actual state of affairs are ever brought about.

      I replied with what I took to be an Aristotelian definition of what being-in-potency is. Clarifying, something like this:

      That which gives some persisting matter the capacity to take on some particular range of forms. (Or, if it is compatible with B theory maybe '...to be taking on...')

      And to clarify, an Aristotelian definition of what being-in-act is:
      When some matter that has the capacity to take on a particular form possesses this form.

      In the light of the Aristotelian ideas of what act and potency are the idea of a non-actual state of affairs is impossible because it would just be nothing or non-being and therefore not a state of affairs. Any state of affairs would have to be either pure actuality or involve substances that are form and matter composites and therefore types of being-in-act.

      I don’t think being-in-potency can be considered as having any kind of ability to do things or bring things about either, it’s more a capacity to receive or possess things.

      These were the kind of considerations which led me to write that I found it hard to ‘translate’ what you meant into the context of A-T ideas about act and potency.

      From the above perhaps it will become easier to see which theory permits act/potency which which one doesn't .

      It doesn’t seem that clear to me how closely the A-T kind of definitions of act and potency which I gave above coincide with the meaning of the terms actual and actuality in the concise description of A and B theory you give. Maybe on A-theory presentism only the being-in-act of the present moment can be said to exist? But I’m not sure how that would affect the being-in-potency or the capacity of matter to possess certain forms.

      The Hot cup can't be said to have potency to become cooler because the time at which it becomes cooler is as actual on B-theory as the present.

      The water in the coffee is a substance that persists in being over time. It has the accidental form of being hot at one moment in time but it is said that it lacks the capacity to possess the accidental form of being cool (i.e. it lacks the potency for coolness). But, at a later moment in time the same water in the coffee is in fact declared to be cool. This last sentence would be the incoherent part.

      Also, the water in the coffee being hot and the water in the coffee being cold are both actual in the Aristotelian account; both are examples of being-in-act. However, the kind of being-in-act involved is not identical.

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    72. Look, either you have read Earman or you haven’t. If you have, you know what temporal passage means in this debate. If you haven’t, then why did you bother to quote him? I’ve already told you what time on B-theory consists of- an objective succession of events that acts as a mind independent measure of change. Most B-theorists don’t believe that time is a mind-independent measure of anything. And time doesn’t get you the act/potency distinction, it lets you measure change, which in turn is what gets you the act/potency distinction.

      Thats the problem , simply a succession isn't capable of vindicating act/potency because no event in that succession is ever brought into actuality, they are all always actual on B-theory.

      I don’t claim it, it’s exactly how Feser’s argument is laid out. And he explicitly says that he believes B-theory denies temporal passage, so it’s not a legitimate option for him.

      by your claim I mean both aspects of above passage you quote. the second aspect of above passage is your claim not part of his thesis.

      I didn’t even do that. I made specific arguments against four-dimensionalism and why it can’t account for change. And if you didn’t come here to defend a claim against that Feser and four-dimensionalism, then why did you make the claim to begin with and especially when you hadn’t even read the chapter?

      You did when I answered your claims against four-dimensionalism , it was you remember who discontinued the discussion of persistence .

      You think that there are at most two Thomists in the world that are B-theorists? Even if you limit this to professionals, this is flat out-false.

      Perhaps you can point some out? which not merely hold some view but have actually solved current problems?

      So because I make so called bigger claims I have to defend five different subjects at once, but because you make a smaller claim you don’t even have to defend one subject? Again, this isn’t fair at all.

      No, I didn't make any claims about 4D at all, I only remarked about Feser's criticism of change on B-theory which would apply whether 4D or 3D is true.. so yea you made much bigger claim requiring much healthier level of defense.

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    73. Most temporal parts theorists follow Lewis and reject metaphysical parts because they endorse temporal parts. Armstrong regards himself as something of an Aristotelian in this respect and is not indicative of the standard approach. So if you are going to say that you can believe in immanent universals on four-dimensionalism, then you will have to show how you can take an Aristotelian basis for immanent universals and use it without any reference to real change plus act/potency on four-dimensionalism.

      Why would it even require reference to real change plus act/potency on four-dimensionalism.? And again nothing of that sort shows any relevance to issue once again.

      And my account is relevant because it shows how real change occurs intrinsically by forms gaining and losing properties over time.

      Shown what and where? And you've been already explained that talk of gaining or losing properties it meaningless on B-theory.

      Just because something is actual at one time doesn’t mean that has no potentialities that will actualized at a subsequent time. The coffee is actually cold, but it is still the case that at that second it has a potential to be hot in the next second. Similarly, when the coffee is hot at one second it is also the case that it has the potential to be cold in the next second.

      But its not just actual at just one time , its actual at both , the coffee's coldness and hotness are both actual. how then is there room for its being potentialy something?

      And why is it cold and then hot? None of your proposed explanations will work. Universalism boils down to simply observing that something that we just happen to call cold coffee and something that we call hot coffee are different. Brute facts are a non-explanation. There are no substances on temporal parts theories so you can’t have forms. You have given no account of causal relations and the way that you phrase your answer denies them. If there is nothing that connects the cold coffee and the hot coffee, you can’t even say that they are the same thing and that something has even changed.

      This passage is a complete red-herring , we're not even talking about four-dimensionalism here , we're just discussing B-theory , Neither are your assertions here any better You've been already explained about mind-dependence or brute facts or your claim about no-substances, its not like you engaged with any of them other then stomping your foot claiming same things again. most of this is utterly irrelevant to the passage you quote above. and indeed its a great indication that you can't have A-T stuff on B-theory. Its not like once you accept endurantism the cold coffee can be said to turn into anything.

      This is the main thing you're failing to grasp every time , consider the following claims,

      1.A-T change is incompatible with B-theory.
      2.Feser's argument against B-theory is unsatisfactory.
      3.Temporal Part theories are incoherent( there is no change, nothing persists etc)
      4. A-T change is only incompatible with 4D ( it is compatible with 3D/B-theory)

      Among these the 2nd one is mine, which I neither intended to defend before reading the paper nor any user here discussed with me. the 4th one is yours and it is independent of others and requires defense independently. From this it should become clear why your tu quoque strategy that you're not convinced by 4D isn't interesting. I already told you if you think it requires a lot of time then that is fine , you can defend it some other time.

      Next time plz consider dealing with passages which deals with 3D change. as writing a lot in response is difficult and there are other users to respond too.

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    74. anon , I would respond to you later.

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  11. That,a not true at all. He has always said that the five ways go through regardless of the a theory or the b theory. He says the exact same thing in the chapter.

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    1. Anonymous November 9, 2017 at 7:43 PM

      "That,a not true at all. He has always said that the five ways go through regardless of the a theory or the b theory."
      --According to Feser and other A-T scholars, the Five Ways lead to the notion that an unchanging changer is necessary to account for continued existence of material moment to moment.

      Contemporary science tells us that material is conserved. The existential respect of material does not change.

      For material to persist in existence is no change in the existential respect of material. No change calls for no changer at all, much less a regress of changers terminating in a first unchanging changer.

      A-T, as explained by Feser, is diametrically opposed to contemporary science.

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    2. Contemporary science tells us that material is conserved. The existential respect of material does not change.


      That's what nineteenth century science said. You are more than a hundred years out of date. Contemporary science describes matter coming into and out of existence; one type of matter decaying into a different type of matter; one particle spontaneously decaying into three with no material explanation of why it decays at that moment in time. It doesn't come from nothing -- there is always an efficient cause, guaranteed by the conservation of Energy -- and it is not confused -- only certain decays are possible -- but the building blocks of matter are not conserved.

      A-T, as explained by Feser, is diametrically opposed to contemporary science.

      No. AT describes one side of the equation, how God continually sustains and preserves the material, as well as instituting change according to the principles of efficient and final causality. Modern science describes the preservation and evolution of matter, according to the principle of conservation of four-momentum and that only certain decay channels are possible. They both describe the same thing, just viewed from different angles.

      You need to read that book I linked to above (as well as the book that was the subject of this post).

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    3. "Contemporary science tells us that material is conserved."

      This is in no respect opposed to AT even if it was what's said by contemporary science, for even on 19th century thinking it was never really plausible that matter was necessary being, and the consideration of God as sustaining cause comes from a consideration of contingent being. This is why we eventually end up with early 20th century eliminativist attempts to preclude such questions as unintelligible or later "brute fact" views that attempt to do the same thing in another way: because the prior era had refused fundamental questions by method, fiat, or ignorance not by truth and the subsequent generations had either to justify this lacuna or to give up the nineteenth century pretensions. You are now in a post-positivist era when that justification never came but people persist as before by loose psychological commitment.

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    4. Boring Bloke November 11, 2017 at 4:04 AM

      " one type of matter decaying into a different type of matter;"
      --That is no change in the existential respect of material.

      " one particle spontaneously decaying into three with no material explanation of why it decays at that moment in time."
      --That is no change in the existential respect of material. Human ignorance of the causal mechanism for change in the structural respect of material does not mean we must conclude there can be no such mechanism. Feser does a good job of making this point elsewhere.

      " the building blocks of matter are not conserved."
      --False. In every observed transformation the net amount of mass/energy remains constant.

      Mass/energy is conserved, which is just another way of saying that material does not change in its existential respect.

      "AT describes one side of the equation, how God continually sustains and preserves the material, "
      --There is no call for a first changer to continually actualize material in existence. Material is fully actualized in its existential respect. Material does not change in its existential respect so no changer, no actualizer, no sustainer, is called for at all.

      "Modern science describes the preservation and evolution of matter, according to the principle of conservation of four-momentum and that only certain decay channels are possible. They both describe the same thing, just viewed from different angles."
      --False. Modern science describes mass/energy as a constant amount of material that requires no sustainer to persist in existence because the amount of material in existence does not change.

      Delete
    5. Energy is not matter. It is not the "existential respect of the material." Energy is a property of matter, which distinguishes the different eigenstates of the Hamiltonian (time evolution) operator. It is basically just one of the labels physicists attach to different states of matter so we can easily tell which is which.

      I quite agree that energy is conserved in physics; the amount of energy does not change. But to go from that to say that there is no need for a conserver is to take a unfounded logical leap.

      Physics is just the description of how God sustains the universe. There is no difference between the physicist who says that "energy is conserved; therefore every change must have an efficient cause; every speck of matter that does not interact (through emission, decay or absorption) with another speck of matter must stay in the same state" and the theologian who states that "God continually upholds and preserves matter; therefore every change must have an efficient cause; every being that does not interact with another being must stay in the same potentia." They are describing precisely the same thing from different perspectives.

      Let us say that we have an electron in an excited state. It decays to a ground state, and emits a photon. The photon then decays into a positron/anti-positron pair. The efficient cause of the positron is the photon; the efficient cause of the photon is the excited electron. To say that no change happens here since the energy remains the same is clearly ludicrous. There is movement from one state (or potentia) to another -- precisely the notion of change that is at the heart of AT philosophy.

      In physics, the conservation of energy arises from the form of the Lagrangian -- from the symmetries of the Lagrangian in classical physics, from its locality in quantum field theory. The Lagrangian is constructed from creation and annihilation operators for the various Bosons and Fermions that make up the standard model. It is these Bosons and Fermions which represent matter at its most fundamental level, and they come into and out of existence.

      Four-momentum is a property of matter. Mass is another property which describes the self-interaction of matter fields (that's the role it plays in the field theory Lagrangians, after the electro-weak symmetry breaking of the Higgs). Energy is not fundamental, not the "existential respect of matter". It simply describes which state matter lies in.

      An electron in an excited state, with greater energy, is not more existential than one in a ground state; they both exist just as much as each other. The conservation of four-momenta is merely an "accidental" feature of the Hamiltonian which describes the time evolution of this world. I can easily construct Hamiltonians which are self consistent but don't conserve energy (a lattice gauge theory being the example that comes first to my mind). Yet in those theories there are still electrons and gluons, the building blocks of matter, and still efficient causality. These things are more fundamental to physics than energy and its conservation.

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    6. Boring Bloke November 11, 2017 at 1:19 PM

      "Energy is not matter."
      --Right. Energy is material, as is matter. They are existentially equivalent. E=mcc.

      "I quite agree that energy is conserved in physics; the amount of energy does not change. But to go from that to say that there is no need for a conserver is to take a unfounded logical leap. "
      --False.
      If a thing does not change in a certain respect then there is no call for a changer in that respect.

      If we observe X now and X later you may if you wish invent all manner of invisible beings that transparently change X in just the right way so it still looks like X. Such inventions are not logically necessary.

      "Physics is just the description of how God sustains the universe"
      --Mere speculation of an invisible being that is changing things in just the right way so they appear to remain unchanged.

      "The efficient cause of the positron is the photon; the efficient cause of the photon is the excited electron. To say that no change happens here since the energy remains the same is clearly ludicrous."
      --Indeed. You have described a temporal causal series in which the structure or form of material has changed. The existence of that material has not changed.

      Every causal series is a temporal series and therefore an "accidental" series of changes in structure. To account for these observed changes we use a temporal causal regress analysis in a multibody system of mutual causation where the labels of cause and effect are arbitrary.

      There is no call to perform a regress analysis for the existence of material in a causal series because the existential respect of material does not change.

      " There is movement from one state (or potentia) to another -- precisely the notion of change that is at the heart of AT philosophy."
      --False. The heart of A-T philosophy is the notion of an "essential" series that is imagined to be a hierarchical causal series at the present moment, which is a notion shown to be false upon examination.

      "...Bosons and Fermions that make up the standard model. It is these Bosons and Fermions which represent matter at its most fundamental level,"
      --Nobody knows what the most fundamental level of material existence is.

      " and they come into and out of existence. "
      --Only as modeled abstractions, their material does not come into and out of existence.

      " I can easily construct Hamiltonians which are self consistent but don't conserve energy"
      --You may form whatever unrealistic abstractions you wish but I am talking about the reality that is manifest and evident to our senses.

      Material is evidently conserved. We never see a new amount of material coming into being, nor do we ever see and amount of material cease to be.

      Material can take many forms, and we have devised various models to describe those forms.

      Since the amount of material always stays constant there is no call for an invisible being, a first changer in the present moment, to account for no change in the amount of material.

      Such a speculated invisible changer would be continuously changing everything in just the right way so as to make things appear to have not changed in the amount of material.

      You can make that speculation if you wish, but it is not necessary, and this lack of necessity shows the proofs of Aquinas are false.

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    7. >Material is evidently conserved. We never see a new amount of material coming into being, nor do we ever see and amount of material cease to be.

      Dude you're just wrong, read up on Quantum Field Theory or GTFO. Open a physics textbook or something before spewing your nonsense. You sound like you got all your knowledge of physics from 19th century philosophers

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    8. Please don't feed the trolls.

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  12. Energy is material, as is matter. They are existentially equivalent. E=mcc.

    a) Mass is not the same thing as matter. To
    say that energy is equivalent to mass is
    not to say that energy is material in
    the same way that matter is. What
    about massless particles such as
    photons?
    b) Energy would only be equivalent to mass
    if all forms of energy were mass. That
    is not true. In classical special
    relativity, mass is one form of energy,
    but not the only form of energy.
    Therefore energy and mass are not
    equivalent.
    c) In quantum field theory (the merger
    between quantum physics and special
    relativity), the difference between
    energy and mass becomes even more
    pronounced. Mass is a merely a parameter
    in the Hamiltonian describing a
    particle's self-interaction (or in some
    cases its coupling to the Higgs field).
    Energy is the eigenvalue of the
    Hamiltonian operator, something which
    is a function of the mass but not the
    same thing as the mass. The equation
    E^2 = p^2c^2 + m^2 c^4 (from which
    E=mc^2 is derived) need not hold in
    field theory.

    You are therefore quite wrong in equating
    energy with the material nature.

    "Physics is just the description of how God sustains the universe"
    --Mere speculation of an invisible being that is changing things in just the right way so they appear to remain unchanged.


    Not speculation. Something which provides the best explanation for the evidence we see. Though that's not something which can
    be justified in a blog comment; it requires about half of a dense 720 page book.

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    1. Sorry, I should clarify what I have been writing. The Hamiltonian in quantum physics is proportional to the time differential. It basically measures the rate of change in time. An eigenvalue in quantum physics corresponds to the possible values of a measurement of an observable property. Thus the eigenvalue of the Hamiltonian operator, Energy, describes how likely it is that a being will change. The higher the energy, the more the being is likely to change in a given moment of time. (There is a again an analogy with the classical concept of mass, which is a property of matter which describes the resistance of a body to one particular type of change, acceleration). Energy is thus a measure of a being's propensity to change. It thus clearly makes no sense to say "Energy is material, as is matter. They are existentially equivalent."

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    2. Boring Bloke November 11, 2017 at 3:09 PM
      " Mass is not the same thing as matter"
      --Right, they are existentially equivalent. No new material is created when matter is transformed into, for example, electromagnetic radiation, nor is any material lost.

      "You are therefore quite wrong in equating energy with the material nature"
      --Your words, not mine. In the causal series you described no new material was created and no material was lost. The amount of material was conserved. Since the same amount of material is present over time and structural changes no changer is called for to account for no change in the amount of material.

      "The equation
      E^2 = p^2c^2 + m^2 c^4 (from which
      E=mc^2 is derived) need not hold in
      field theory."
      --You may form whatever abstractions you wish. I am referring to what is manifest and evident to our sense.

      The amount of material is observed to be constant. There is no call for a changer to account for no change in the existence of material.

      "Physics is just the description of how God sustains the universe"
      SP--Mere speculation of an invisible being that is changing things in just the right way so they appear to remain unchanged.

      "Not speculation. Something which provides the best explanation for the evidence we see"
      --The evidence we see is that the amount of material does not change. The best explanation for no change is no changer.

      To invent an invisible being to account for no change by changing things in just the right way so they appear to not change is diametrically opposed to contemporary science.

      Newton expressed his objection to such unnecessary speculations in the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy this way:
      *We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.*

      To introduce an invisible being to account for no change is superfluous.

      "Though that's not something which can be justified in a blog comment; it requires about half of a dense 720 page book."
      --I don't need 360 pages of dense material to make this very simple point.

      The amount of material does not change. Therefore, no changer is called for to account for the continued existence of material. It just stays the same and there is no need for a changer. Pretty simple.

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    3. If you respect this blog, please stop feeding the troll.

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    4. Anonymous November 11, 2017 at 5:49 PM

      "If you respect this blog, please stop feeding the troll."
      --Maybe the problem is my use of the word "material" which sounds a lot like matter, and seems to be a linguistic sticking point for Boring Bloke.

      How about "stuff"? That is getting to be a fairly popular term, maybe because it is a little silly sounding, it conveys that there are so many unknowns as to what material is, maybe just call it stuff for lack of a better word.

      Contemporary science tells us stuff is conserved, no new stuff is created and no existing stuff ceases to exist, so the same amount of stuff is always in existence.

      If the same amount of stuff is in existence from moment to moment then there is no change in the amount of stuff, so there is no call for a changer to account for continued existence of stuff.

      No change...no changer. Pretty simple, don't you agree?

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