Three-dimensionalism vs. four-dimensionalism
Hawthorne (John)
Source: Sider (Ted), Hawthorne (John) & Zimmerman (Dean), Eds. - Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. In debates about the nature of persisting material objects, philosophers tend to cluster into two groups, often labeled "three-dimensionalists" and "four-dimensionalists". While no single idea sharply defines either group, some rough and ready characterizations are possible.
    1. Four-dimensionalists contend that there is a deep analogy between the structure of ordinary material objects and the structure of the space-time of modern physics; three-dimensionalists question this analogy.
    2. Three-dimensionalists tend to embrace the slogan "persisting things are wholly present at each time that they exist"; four-dimensionalists tend to reject it.
  2. In what follows, I will clarify what is meant by each of these contentions, and explore some promising strategies for making good on the three-dimensionalist picture. One theme of note will be that some versions of three-dimensionalism are compatible with temporal parts theory, as outlined by "Sider (Ted) - Temporal Parts".

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