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The Creation-Conservation Dilemma and Presentist Four-Dimensionalism

William F. Vallicella
Religious Studies
Vol. 38, No. 2 (Jun., 2002), pp. 187-200
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20008405
Page Count: 14
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The Creation-Conservation Dilemma and Presentist Four-Dimensionalism
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Abstract

On traditional theism, God is not only a creator but also a conserver. The doctrine of conservation, however, appears to face a dilemma. Either conservation is continuous re-creation with consequences inimical to diachronic identity, or conservation is an operation upon a pre-existent entity, which, because it is pre-existent, is in no clear need of conservation. This article first makes a case for the dilemma, and then proposes a way between its horns. Safe passage is possible if we adopt presentist four-dimensionalism, i.e. the conjunction of presentism, according to which temporally present items alone exist, and four-dimensionalism, the doctrine that individuals are not continuants but wholes of temporal parts.

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