Is distinct location evidence of distinct objects? Multilocation and the problem of parsimony

David Harmon*

*Corresponding author for this work

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For an object to be multilocated is for it to wholly occupy disjoint spatial regions simultaneously. If multilocation is possible, it is possible that a multilocated particle is wholly located at 1080 distinct locations, such that it constitutes a particle-for-particle duplicate of the actual universe. Such a universe would presumably be perceptually identical to the actual universe. If we take multilocation as possible, we are thus presented with two accounts between which our perceptual evidence cannot adjudicate: one wherein the universe is constituted by many particles and another wherein it is constituted by one radically multilocated particle. Parsimony concerns dictate that the latter is the more rational to accept. Since this is absurd, we should reject that multilocation is possible. Mooney responds to the problem by arguing that distinct location is evidence of non-identity, even if acceptance of the possibility of multilocation entails that this evidence is not decisive. If this is right, then the evidence favors a theory featuring many particles. In this paper, I contend that our commitment to taking distinct location as evidence of nonidentity is motivated by a more fundamental intuition that does not apply in the relevant context.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytic Philosophy
VolumeEarly View
Early online date13 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Dec 2023


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