Reply To: General "Block Universe" Discussion

AvatarMark Stuckey

I see physics as trying to construct a single model (called reality) to account coherently for disparate subjective experiences; not all experiences of course, just those that are (assumed) common, (approximately) repeatable and can be represented by laws (rules of regularity). What does special relativity (SR) have to tell us about this endeavor?

Consider the two boys and three girls in the example attached (you don’t have to read it, just look at Figures 1, 4, 5, & 7). The boys say they are twins, but must conclude the girls are different ages, while the girls say they are triplets and must conclude the boys are different ages. Likewise, the boys and girls disagree as to how far apart they are in space. If you constructed a model to include a meaningful Now per each of these M4 foliations, the two foliated sets of experiences would be incongruous. The lesson of SR is — if you want to include Now in a meaningful way, you have to give up on the goal of doing so with a single, coherent model (of reality). If you don’t want to give up on that goal, you must abandon a meaningful notion of Now to accommodate both sets of foliated experience (relativity of simultaneity, Block Universe). So, SR forces you to choose between coherence and completeness. Most physicists avoid this dilemma because they don’t believe Now is of concern to physics. I think it’s one basis for peoples’ objection to Block Universe. Those who recognize Now as germane to subjective experience and believe physics is in the business of modeling such common elements of experience are going to object to Block Universe as incomplete.

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