Michael C. Rea

in The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199284221
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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This article provides a critical overview of the main arguments in favour of four-dimensionalism. It begins by discussing several issues that will help us better understand the nature of the debate between presentists and four-dimensionalists. Then the article discusses in detail the three main arguments in support of four-dimensionalism: the argument from the impossibility of temporal passage, the truthmaker argument, and the argument from special relativity. The first two arguments on their own pose no serious threat to presentism. However, the options available to presentists for replying to the third argument are extremely implausible, and that the considerations commonly cited in favour of presentism are generally outweighed by those arising out of the first and third arguments taken together. Thus, it is concluded that, as the debate currently stands in the literature, four-dimensionalism has the upper hand.

Keywords: four-dimensionalism; truthmaker argument; presentism; special relativity; presentists; argument

Article.  17903 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Science

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