On temporal becoming, relativity, and quantum mechanics

In Dennis Dieks (ed.), The Ontology of Spacetime II (2008)
Abstract
In the first section of the chapter, I scrutinize Howard Stein’s 1991 definition of a transitive becoming relation that is Lorentz invariant. I argue first that Stein’s analysis gives few clues regarding the required characteristics of the relation complementary to his becoming—i.e. the relation of indefiniteness. It turns out that this relation cannot satisfy the condition of transitivity, and this fact can force us to reconsider the transitivity requirement as applied to the relation of becoming. I argue that the relation of becoming need not be transitive, as long as it satisfies the weaker condition of “cumulativity”: for a given observer the area of the events that have become real should not diminish as time progresses. I show that there are actually two relations of becoming that meet this weakened condition: Stein’s (transitive) relation of causal past connectibility and the (non-transitive) relation that is the logical complement of the future causal connectibility. In the second part of the chapter I defend Stein’s notion of temporal becoming against the attack that appeals to quantum-mechanical non-locality. I critically evaluate the argument given by Mauro Dorato (1996) that purports to show that space-like separated measurements done on the EPR system have to be mutually determinate. Finally, in order to account for the truth of counterfactual statements that link the space-like separated outcomes, I propose a dynamic conception of becoming, according to which the sphere of determinate events as of a given point may depend on the physical phenomena transpiring at this point.
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