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Presentism in a World Denied Instantaneous Signals

Nasmith, Benjamin B (2011) Presentism in a World Denied Instantaneous Signals. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    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, the single term ‘simultaneity’ describes multiple potentially independent concepts. By establishing the mutual independence of the relevant concepts of simultaneity, the presentist and eternalist may agree to move past the initial threat to presentism posed by STR. The subsequent debate hinges on whether presentism or eternalism best accounts for the principle of relativity. The presentist is often accused of initially failing to identify the absolute present and then constructing a model that hides it using an unlikely set of premises. As a result, the eternalist Minkowski space-time interpretation appears simpler in many respects. However, it is demonstrated that on presentism one may obtain the principle of relativity by simply prohibiting instantaneous signals between distant events. Many of the objections against the presentist Neo-Lorentzian interpretation of STR are answered in light of this demonstration. The partition between the experimental evidence provided by STR and human experience is found to be unnecessary.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Presentism, eternalism, special theory of relativity
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
    General Issues > Science Education
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
    Depositing User: Mr. Benjamin Nasmith
    Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2011 14:10
    Last Modified: 11 Oct 2011 08:31
    Item ID: 8763
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/8763

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