|Relativity and Persistence|
|Source: Philosophy of Science 67 (2000): S549–S562|
|Paper - Abstract|
The nature of persistence of physical objects over time has been intensely debated in contemporary metaphysics. The two opposite views are widely known as “endurantism”1 (or “three-dimensionalism”) and “perdurantism” (“four-dimensionalism”). According to the former, objects are extended in three spatial dimensions and persist through time by being wholly present at any moment at which they exist. On the rival account, objects are extended both in space and time and persist by having “temporal parts,” no part being present at more than one time. Relativistic considerations seem highly relevant to this debate. But they have played little role in it so far. This paper seeks to remedy that situation. I argue that considerations based on the special theory of relativity and the notion of coexistence favor perdurantism over endurantism2.
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