[MaFLa] reminder: invitation to a talk on`Objects and Their Phases`-Tuesday, 4 November, 5.30 PM, Zrinyi 14, Room 412

Krisztina Biber biberk at ceu.hu
Mon Nov 3 07:18:30 CET 2014

     The CEU Department of Philosophy cordially invites you to a talk 
 (as part of its Departmental Colloquium series)
 David Pitt (Cal State LA and CEU)
 `Objects and Their Phases`
 Tuesday, 4 November 2014, 5.30 PM, Zrinyi 14, Room 412
 I propose to solve the puzzle of the relation of a clay statue to the
lump of clay it’s made of in the following way. A clay statue is a phase
of the clay it’s made of (the clay is its “material content”), in the
same way that (liquid) water, ice and steam are phases of H2O. A statue
is shaped clay; water is liquid H2O; ice is frozen H2O; steam is gaseous
H2O. Likewise fists and hands (fists are clenched hands), paper
airplanes and paper (paper airplanes are folded paper), ermines and
stoats (ermines are white stoats), meteoroids, meteors, meteorites and
rocks (orbiting, falling and fallen space rocks, respectively) – and, of
course, lumps and the particles that constitute them.
 Thus, a statue and its constituent lump, though they are not identical,
are not distinct physical objects occupying the same place at the same
time. They are a lump and a phase of that lump occupying (necessarily –
that statue is a phase of that lump) the same place at the same time.
‘Statue’ is a phase sortal that picks out
a-material-content-with-a-certain-shape. (The name of a statue is a
phase nominal that picks out the same thing.) It is something over and
above the lump, but it is not some thing over and above the lump.
 I apply this way of looking at the relation between kinds of objects
and their material contents to the univeralist-nihilist debate over
material composition and to temporal and modal questions of material

    Krisztina Biber
 Department of Philosophy 
 Central European University
 Nador u. 9. | 1051 Budapest, Hungary
 Office: + 36.1.327.3806 | biberk at ceu.hu | www.ceu.hu 


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