Precis of Four-Dimensionalism
Sider (Ted)
Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research LXVII, No. 3, May 2004, pp. 642-647
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Philosophers Index Abstract

    I defend the spatio-temporal ontology of Russell, Smart, Quine, and Lewis, including four-dimensionalism (the doctrine of temporal parts, on my usage) and eternalism (realism about past and future objects). Presentism (the main rival to eternalism) is mistaken because it is difficult to reconcile with special relativity, because it requires reality to have noncategorical fundamental features, and because the presentist's tensed language cannot express the fundamental facts of space-time structure. Three-dimensionalism (the rejection of temporal parts) is mistaken because it precludes the possibility of time travel1, is difficult to combine with space-time relationalism, leads to the incoherent position that existence is vague, and forces a suboptimal resolution of the paradoxes of material coincidence. Objections to four-dimensionalism (e.g., the problem of motion in homogenous entities) can be answered. I also defend a robust realism about ontology.


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