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THE BLOCK VIEW OF TIME Let me now describe the view of time that I ascribe to. It is a four-dimensional picture, with three spatial dimensions and one temporal. Each slice through the block is a three-dimensional configuration of all entities in the world. Neighboring slices differ in ways that reflect the movement of the bodies. Every 3-dimensional cross-section (in relativity, this is called a space-like hypersurface ) cuts through all of the world-lines of all of the bodies that exist at that time, revealing the configuration of all those bodies at that time. Each cross-section represents a moment of time, yet no cross-section is picked out as special, as the present, or Now. “Now” is an indexical, or token- reflexive, term, whose referent depends upon the context of utterance. When uttered at t = 3, it denotes that time-slice; when uttered at t = 8, it denotes another. In some sense, all cross-sections are “Now”. Note that on this picture, the past, present and future all have the same ontological status, as they are simply points or directions relative to some cross-section. Past, present and future are relative notions. All the points below t = 3 are in the past of that moment, all that lie on that cross-section are in the present of that moment, and all the lie above t = 3 are in the future of that moment. There is no past, present or future simpliciter , only relative to some moment, or cross-section.
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