Relativity and Three Four‐dimensionalisms

Philosophy Compass 11 (2):102-120 (2016)
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Abstract

Relativity theory is often said to support something called ‘the four-dimensional view of reality’. But there are at least three different views that sometimes go by this name. One is ‘spacetime unitism’, according to which there is a spacetime manifold, and if there are such things as points of space or instants of time, these are just spacetime regions of different sorts: thus space and time are not separate manifolds. A second is the B-theory of time, according to which the past, present, and future are all equally real and there is nothing metaphysically special about the present. A third is perdurantism, according to which persisting material objects are made up of different temporal parts located at different times. We sketch routes from relativity to unitism and to the B-theory. We then discuss some routes to perdurantism, via the B-theory and via unitism

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Author Profiles

Damiano Costa
Università della Svizzera Italiana
Cody Gilmore
University of California, Davis

Citations of this work

The Multi-location Trilemma.Damiano Costa & Claudio Calosi - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1063-1079.
Location and Mereology.Cody Gilmore, Claudio Calosi & Damiano Costa - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Eternalism and Perspectival Realism About the ‘Now’.Matias Slavov - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (11):1398-1410.
Persistence and location in relativistic spacetime.Cody Gilmore - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1224-1254.
Temporal Parts.Katherine Hawley - 2004/2010 - Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Material beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):278-279.

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