Eternalism and Perspectival Realism About the ‘Now’

Foundations of Physics 50 (11):1398-1410 (2020)
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Abstract

Eternalism is the view that all times are equally real. The relativity of simultaneity in special relativity backs this up. There is no cosmically extended, self-existing ‘now.’ This leads to a tricky problem. What makes statements about the present true? I shall approach the problem along the lines of perspectival realism and argue that the choice of the perspective does. To corroborate this point, the Lorentz transformations of special relativity are compared to the structurally similar equations of the Doppler effect. The ‘now’ is perspectivally real in the same way as a particular electromagnetic spectrum frequency. I also argue that the ontology of time licensed by perspectival realism is more credible in this context than its current alternative, the fragmentalist interpretation of special relativity.

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Matias Kimi Slavov
Tampere University

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