Temporal Parts

  • Robin Le Poidevin
Part of the Studies in Contemporary Philosophy book series


We must first ask: what are temporal parts? A temporal part is generally taken to be the intersection of an object and a time or time-interval (for the purposes of my argument it is to be understood that a ‘time’ is an unextended temporal point), represented formally as ‘a-at-t’. This is certainly the historical doctrine, as advocated by Russell ((1914), pp. 105f; (1927), pp. 244, 284) and Quine ((1960), p. 172). To Quine we owe the notation ‘x-at-t’. Carnap (1958) had introduced a notation, ‘Sli(x, y)’, interpreted ‘x is a spatio-temporal slice of y’, but it never caught on. As first presented by Russell, the doctrine of temporal parts was seen as a consequence of physics rather than philosophy. In particular, relativity theory requires a view of objects as extended in the four-dimensional manifold. Such four-dimensional objects have temporal, as well as spatial, parts.


Depression Manifold Beach Edna 


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Copyright information

© The Scots Philosophical Club 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Le Poidevin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeedsUK

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