Persistence and Space-Time:
Philosophical Lessons of the Pole and Barn
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Although considerations based on contemporary space-time theories, such as special and general relativity, seem highly relevant to the debate about persistence, their significance has not been duly appreciated. My goal in this paper is twofold: (1) to reformulate the rival positions in the debate (i.e., endurantism [three-dimensionalism] and perdurantism [four-dimensionalism, the doctrine of temporal parts]) in the framework of special relativistic space-time; and (2) to argue that, when so reformulated, perdurantism exhibits explanatory advantages over endurantism. The argument builds on the fact that four-dimensional entities extended in space as well as time are relativistically invariant in a way three-dimensional entities are not.