The Rates of the Passing of Time, Presentism, and the Issue of Co-Existence in Special Relativity

Foundations of Physics 51 (3):1-19 (2021)
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Abstract

By considering situations from the paradox of the twins in relativity, it is shown that time passes at different rates along different world lines, answering some well-known objections. The best explanation for the different rates is that time indeed passes. If time along a world line is something with a rate, and a variable rate, then it is difficult to see it as merely a unique, invariant, monotonic parameter without any further explanation of what it is. Although it could, conceivably, be explained by the flow of something, it is better explained by the passing of a point present, which faces the problem that there is no absolute simultaneity in special relativity so that the present for an object is confined to just that object. This raises problems about presentism, eternalism, simultaneity, and special relativity. These issues are addressed first by giving accounts of presentism and eternalism and then an account of existence and times for objects relative to world lines. Finally, an analogy between a world of relativistic objects and Leibniz’s ontology of monads.

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Andrew Newman
University of Nebraska, Omaha

Citations of this work

Questioning the Emergence of Time.Peter J. Riggs - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-10.

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References found in this work

The metaphysics within physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Moving Spotlight: An Essay on Time and Ontology.Ross P. Cameron - 2015 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
The Fragmentation of Being.Kris McDaniel - 2017 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time.Tim Maudlin - 2012 - Princeton University Press.
Objective Becoming.Bradford Skow - 2015 - Oxford: Oxford University Press UK.

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