Persistence in Minkowski Space-Time

  • Cord Friebe
Conference paper
Part of the The European Philosophy of Science Association Proceedings book series (EPSP, volume 1)


Under the eternalist hypothesis that objects or events exist temporally, but independently of being present two different views of persistence are on the market: Persisting objects endure if they are multiply located in (space-)time, and persisting objects perdure if they are singly located by having numerically different temporal parts. In the framework of the special theory of relativity (SR), the metaphysics of persistence is confronted with peculiar difficulties. Things persist by being “wholly present” at more than one time; but what are times within a temporally non-separated spacetime? Things persist by having different temporal parts at different times; but what are the temporal parts of a four-dimensional object in Minkowski spacetime? Recently, several authors have argued that SR favours perdurantism over its endurantist rival. In this paper, I intend to show that the purported arguments are only those against endurantism. The first simply fails, but the second, more convincing one, is such that with a similar strategy we should argue against perdurantism as well: Enduring and perduring entities are hence both in conflict with SR which undermines the eternalist hypothesis.


Minkowski Spacetime Temporal Part Spacetime Region Spatial Shape Enduring Object 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität BonnBonnGermany

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