Rietdijk–Putnam argument

Philosophical argument based on the theory of relativity / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In philosophy, the Rietdijk–Putnam argument, named after C. Wim Rietdijk [nl] and Hilary Putnam, uses 20th-century findings in physics  specifically in special relativity  to support the philosophical position known as four-dimensionalism.

If special relativity is true, then each observer will have their own plane of simultaneity, which contains a unique set of events that constitutes the observer's present moment. Observers moving at different relative velocities have different planes of simultaneity, and hence different sets of events that are present. Each observer considers their set of present events to be a three-dimensional universe, but even the slightest movement of the head or offset in distance between observers can cause the three-dimensional universes to have differing content. If each three-dimensional universe exists, then the existence of multiple three-dimensional universes suggests that the universe is four-dimensional. The argument is named after the discussions by Rietdijk (1966)[1] and Putnam (1967).[2] It is sometimes called the Rietdijk–Putnam–Penrose argument.[3]