On 7/24/2011 12:05 AM, Jesse Mazer wrote:
On Sat, Jul 23, 2011 at 11:24 PM, Stephen P. King
<stephe...@charter.net <mailto:stephe...@charter.net>> wrote:
On 7/23/2011 9:45 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
If you want to formulate block time without reifying spacetime,
then just consider block time a collection of events separated by
certain distances and directions from eachother. You may be
right that ultimately this is all related to a theory of
observation, and I think I can understand what you mean by
relativity explaining the organization of these
events/observations. In any case, a block universe seems to be a
simpler theory than that of one in which objects become real and
become unreal continuously, and it is consistent with
observations. There is no scientific justification for
presentism that I am aware of.
But can't you see that I am arguing against any form of
spacetime substantivalism, this includes block spacetime, block
The idea that events exist with specific properties attached
independent of specification of measurement - of which observation
by humans is a special case - is what I am arguing against. See:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spacetime-holearg/ for the full
details. Substantivalism just a hold over of Aether theories.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aether_theories and I argue that it
is an unnecessary hypothesis.
One specific observation that for me nails substantivalism is
the observation of no delay or polarization difference between
ultra high gamma photons and gamma photons of lower energies from
the same gamma ray buster event. Spacetime is show to be smooth at
all energy scales, this is contra all theories that treat
spacetime as some kind of substance.
Substantivalism doesn't treat spacetime as a "substance" in the sense
of necessarily being made up of discrete grainy bits (which is all
that the gamma ray prediction was meant to test, see
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630111540.htm ), it
just says that spacetime has physical properties of its own, like the
notion of the different curvature at different points in spacetime
which is present in general relativity. See also the discussion of
"sophisticated substantivalism" on p. 9 of
and also at http://users.ox.ac.uk/~ball0402/papers/sheffield.pdf
<http://users.ox.ac.uk/%7Eball0402/papers/sheffield.pdf> (the author
also apparently wrote a thesis about this and is in the process of
writing a book, see the bottom of the page at
OK, I will read those references, but does not "being made up of
discrete grainy pieces" seem substance-like enough to cause me to come
to that conclusion, maybe mistakenly? I seem to be picking up Leibniz's
side of the Leibniz v. Newton debate on the nature of space and time...
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