Endurantism, perdurantism and special relativity

Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213):524–539 (2003)
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There are two main theories about the persistence of objects through time: endurantism and perdurantism. Endurantists hold that objects are three-dimensional, have only spatial parts, and wholly exist at each moment of their existence. Perdurantists hold that objects are four-dimensional, have temporal parts, and only partly exist at each moment of their existence. In this paper we argue that endurantism is poorly suited to describe the persistence of objects in a world governed by Special Relativity, and can accommodate a relativistic world only at a high price, one that we argue is not worth paying. Perdurantism, on the other hand, fits beautifully with our current scientific understanding of the world. Furthermore, we make this argument from implications of the Lorentz transformations, without appeals to geometrical interpretations, dimensional analogies, or auxillary premises like temporal eternalism.



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Steven Hales
Bloomsburg University

Citations of this work

Relativistic persistence.Ian Gibson & Oliver Pooley - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):157–198.
Enduring Special Relativity.Kristie Miller - 2004 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (3):349-370.
Persistence and location in relativistic spacetime.Cody Gilmore - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1224-1254.
Endurantism and Perdurantism.Nikk Effingham - 2012 - In Robert Barnard & Neil Manson (eds.), Continuum Companion to Metaphysics. Continuum Publishing. pp. 170.

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References found in this work

Time and physical geometry.Hilary Putnam - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (8):240-247.
Parthood and identity across time.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1983 - Journal of Philosophy 80 (4):201-220.
On Einstein--Minkowski space--time.Howard Stein - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (1):5-23.
Four-Dimensional Objects.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Noûs 24 (2):245--255.

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