PhilSci Archive

Relativity as Support for Presentism: A Modest Evidential Argument

Nasmith, Benjamin B (2013) Relativity as Support for Presentism: A Modest Evidential Argument. [Preprint]

[img]
Preview
PDF
2_Mar_13_-_PhilSci_Draft.pdf - Draft Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (298kB)

Abstract

Presentism is roughly the view that only the present exists. This view requires an absolute simultaneity relation. The special theory of relativity, however, is highly successful and does not account for absolute simultaneity. This is widely regarded as an evidential threat to presentism. In what follows, I propose a modest evidential argument in support of presentism on the basis of the physical evidence itself. A weak relativity postulate is shown to follow from a weak light-speed postulate. The weak light-speed postulate, in turn, is shown to be more probable on presentism than on its main rival doctrine, eternalism. Specifically, when one accounts for possible worlds in which the space-time metric is Euclidean (+,+,+,+) rather than Lorentzian (-,+,+,+), the empirical evidence turns out to be more probable on presentism than on eternalism. If successful, this argument provides modest evidential support for presentism and against eternalism. However, the support is drawn from an unexpected source: the physical evidence itself.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Nasmith, Benjamin BBen.Nasmith@gmail.com
Keywords: Presentism, eternalism, special relativity, Euclidean space-time
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Mr. Benjamin Nasmith
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2013 13:26
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2013 13:26
Item ID: 9599
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: 2 March 2013
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9599

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item