Noûs 33 (1999): 644-662


Abstract
I offer an argument in defense of four-dimensionalism, the view that objects are temporally, as well as spatially extended. The argument is of the inference-to-the-best-explanation variety and is based on relativistic considerations. It deals with the situation in which one and the same object has different three-dimensional shapes at the same time and proceeds by asking what sort of thing it must be in order to present itself in such different ways in various “perspectives” (associated with moving reference frames) without being different from itself. I argue that the best answer is that the object must be four-dimensional. It will then have differing 3D shapes in different perspectives because such shapes are intrinsic properties of its 3D parts.
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