Foundations of Physics

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 1627–1644 | Cite as

Relativity theory: What is reality?

  • Diederik Aerts


In classical Newtonian physics there was a clear understanding of “what reality is.≓ Indeed in this classical view, reality at a certain time is the collection of all what is actual at this time, and this is contained in “the present.≓ Often it is stated that three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time hare been substituted by four-dimensional space-time in relativity theory, and as a consequence the classical concept of reality, as that which is “present,≓ cannot be retained. Is reality then the four-dimensional manifold of relativity theory? And if so, what is then the meaning of “change in time?≓ This problem confronts a geometric view (as the Einsteinian interpretation of relativity theory) with a process view (where reality changes constantly in time). In this paper we investigate this problem, taking into account our insight into the nature of reality as it came by analyzing the problems of quantum mechanics. We show that with an Einsteinian interpretation of relativity theory, reality is indeed four-dimensional, but there is no contradiction with the process view, where this reality changes in time.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diederik Aerts
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Theoretical Physics and Center Leo ApostelVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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