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Presentism in a World Denied Instantaneous Signals

Publication Date
  • Conventionalism
  • Laws Of Nature
  • Relativity Theory
  • Symmetries/Invariances


The special theory of relativity (STR) is widely regarded as the primary threat to the otherwise intuitive presentist worldview. In particular, both the relativity and conventionality of simultaneity within STR appear to undermine presentism and support eternalism. However, these classic arguments merely establish the mutual independence of the relevant concepts of simultaneity. The subsequent debate hinges on whether presentism or eternalism best accounts for the principle of relativity. It is demonstrated that the presentist may obtain the principle of relativity by simply prohibiting instantaneous signals between distant events. Many common objections to the presentist Neo-Lorentzian interpretation of STR are answered in light of this demonstration. Therefore, one is free to choose between presentism and eternalism for some reason other than STR.

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