Thomas Sattig: "Pluralism and Determinism"

Thomas Sattig (Tübingen): "Pluralism and Determinism". Listen to the talk here.


Pluralists about material objects believe that distinct material objects can coincide at a time—that they can exactly occupy the same spatial region and be constituted by the same matter at that time. Pluralism is often accepted for reasons of common sense. It seems obvious, for example, that there could be a piece of paper and a paper airplane made from the latter, such that the piece of paper exists before the paper plane is created or exists after the paper plane is destroyed. The artifacts in this scenario would appear to be distinct objects that coincide at various times. My aim is to argue that folk-inspired pluralism faces a serious problem concerning determinism. The actual world is deterministic just in case there is only one way in which it can evolve that is compatible with the actual laws of nature. If determinism about the actual world fails, we expect it to fail for reasons of physics. Yet certain of the common-sense cases of distinct, coinciding objects accepted by pluralists seem to show that the actual world is indeterministic on mundane, a priori grounds. It should not be that easy to establish indeterminism.