Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Volume 71, Issue 3, November 2005

Katherine Hawley
Pages 602-621

Fission, Fusion and Intrinsic Facts

Closest-continuer or best-candidate accounts of persistence seem deeply unsatisfactory, but it is hard to say why. The standard criticism is that such accounts violate the ‘only a and b’ rule, but this criticism merely highlights a feature of the accounts without explaining why the feature is unacceptable. Another concern is that such accounts violate some principle about the supervenience of persistence facts upon local or intrinsic facts. But, again, we do not seem to have an independent justification for this supervenience claim. Instead, I argue that closest continuer accounts are committed to unexplained correlations between distinct existences, and that this is their fundamental flaw. We can have independent justification for rejecting such correlations, but what the justification is depends upon much broader issues in ontology. There is no one-size-fits all objection to closest-continuer accounts of persistence.