Document Type



How can a parcel of matter, or collection of particles, simultaneously compose three different objects, characterized by different modal properties? If the statue is gouged it still exists, but not exactly that piece of gold which originally occupied the statue's borders, and the (mass of) gold within that piece can survive dispersal, while the piece cannot. The solution to this "problem of coinciding objects", this paper argues, is that there is, in that space, only the statue. The properties which the piece and the mass supposedly must have, to go on being, are not properties which anything can have necessarily or essentially. Not even having that origin can be essential. There is no object of which the statue is composed, though there are objects (viz., gold atoms) and a kind of stuff (viz., gold) of which it is composed.


Published in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 63, No. 2, pp. 317-331 (June 1998).