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Foundations of Physics

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 607–617 | Cite as

Relativity and the status of becoming

  • Milič Čapek
Article

Abstract

The merging of space and time proposed by Minkowski in 1908 is still sometimes misinterpreted as a sort of four-dimensional hyperspace of which time is the fourth dimension, analogous to the other, spatial dimensions. An inevitable consequence of this view is that the future events somehow exist prior to, and independently of, human awareness and that what we call “becoming” is “merely a coming into our awareness” (A. Grünbaum). However, an attentive inspection of the space-time diagram and of Minkowski's formula for the constancy of the world interval shows that the events contained in the absolute future of any frame of reference areintrinsically unobservable not only within this system, but also by any other conceivable observer: consequently, there is no reason to postulate their existence.

Keywords

Spatial Dimension Future Event Inevitable Consequence Human Awareness Fourth Dimension 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milič Čapek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyYale UniversityNew Haven

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