Critical Study of Four-Dimensionalism, by Theodore Sider, Oxford University Press 2001, ISBN 0 19 924443 X, hardback

Four-Dimensionalism is a thorough, lively and forceful defence of the claim that “necessarily, every spatiotemporal object has a temporal part at every moment at which it exists” (59). The standard four-dimensionalist view is perdurance theory, according to which everyday things like boats are temporally extended. But Sider rejects perdurance theory, nicely disparaging it as the “worm view”, and he argues for the “stage view” version of fourdimensionalism instead. According to the stage view, everyday things like boats are instantaneous, and claims about the history of the Anstruther lifeboat are made true or false by the boat’s past counterparts. Sider reserves the term “four-dimensionalism” for these two views of persistence; he also defends a tenseless B-theory of time. The book develops, extends and systematises work which Sider has published over the last few years, and it makes a compelling and readable whole. I am sympathetic with many of the conclusions, but I will take issue with some of the arguments.
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