Graham Oddie: "The Statue and the Lump"
- Date: –12:00
- Location: Engelska parken - Eng2-1022
- Organiser: Department of Philosophy
- Contact person: Matti Eklund
The Higher Seminar in Theoretical Philosophy
Graham Oddie, University of Colorado Boulder/SCAS: "The Statue and the Lump: Beyond Monism and Dualism"
The story is familiar. A sculptor makes a statue of the Biblical character David out of a lump of potters clay. He finishes the statue at noon. But he is dissatisfied, and rightly, so. It’s no good. So 1 pm he destroys the statue, squashing the lump of clay out of which it is fashioned. During lunch the statue and the lump occupy the same space, have the same shape, the same mass and are both clay. They have a lot in common. However, it is also true that the statue didn’t exist before noon while the lump did. There are other properties which, give Leibniz’s principle (the uncontroversial one) clearly set the two apart. Throughout the morning, the statue was incomplete, the lump wasn’t. Shortly after noon, when the clay was still moist, the statue was vulnerable —it could easily have collapsed back into a boring lump of clay. The lump wasn’t vulnerable in that way. At 1 pm the sculptor destroyed the statue, but not the lump, which continues on its journey through the world. This is puzzling. One thingers say the statue and the lump are just one and the entity, the very same material particular. Two thingers say the statue and the lump are different entities—they are distinct material particulars. One thingers can explain the vast number of properties which the lump and the statue share, but cannot adequately account for the differences. Two thingers can explain the differences but have difficulties with the extraordinary property overlap. Neither properly resolves the puzzle. I suggest that monism and dualism share a presupposition, one which seems to be almost universally endorsed, but which is, I claim, false. Freed of the presupposition we can entertain a theory which captures the best features of all both theories, while avoiding their pitfalls.