Archive for November, 2012

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Do quantum objects have temporal parts?

November 2, 2012
Tom Pashby

There has been much recent speculation in the metaphysics community regarding the mode of persistence of ordinary objects.  Some philosophers of physics have been moved to consider the implications of classical mechanics and special relativity for this issue. Continuing this trend, I consider here the persistence through time of the quantum state, realistically interpreted as a persisting object.  I argue that a particular view about persistence known as perdurantism, which maintains that objects persist by having temporal parts, is ruled out by a basic no-go result regarding time observables in quantum theory.  I characterize the positions that remaining standing, and argue that a position I term ‘temporal holism’ deserves further attention as a way for quantum objects to persist.