Relativity and Three Four-Dimensionalisms
Costa (Damiano), Gilmore (Cody) & Calosi (Claudio)
Source: Philosophy Compass, 11:2, 2016, 102-120
Paper - Abstract

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Authors’ Abstract

  1. Relativity theory is often said to support something called ‘the four-dimensional view of reality’. But there are at least three different views that sometimes go by this name.
    1. One is the B-theory of time, according to which the past, present, and future are all equally real and there is nothing metaphysically special about the present.
    2. A second is ‘spacetime unitism’ (as we call it), according to which there is a spacetime manifold, and if there are such things as points of space or instants of time, these are just spacetime regions of different sorts: thus space and time are not separate manifolds.
    3. A third is perdurantism1, according to which persisting material objects (rocks, trees, human beings) are made up of different temporal parts located at different times.
  2. We sketch routes from relativity to the B-theory and to unitism. We then discuss some routes to perdurantism2, via the B-theory and via unitism.


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