Perdurantism or perdurance theory is a philosophical theory of persistence and identity.[1] The perdurantist view is that an individual has distinct temporal parts throughout its existence. Perdurantism is usually presented as the antipode to endurantism, the view that an individual is wholly present at every moment of its existence.[1]

The use of "endure" and "perdure" to distinguish two ways in which an object can be thought to persist can be traced to David Kellogg Lewis (1986). However, contemporary debate has demonstrated the difficulties in defining perdurantism (and also endurantism). For instance, the work of Ted Sider (2001) has suggested that even enduring objects can have temporal parts, and it is more accurate to define perdurantism as being the claim that objects have a temporal part at every instant that they exist. Currently there is no universally acknowledged definition of perdurantism.[a] Others argue that this problem is avoided by creating time as a continuous function, rather than a discrete one.

Perdurantism is also referred to as "four-dimensionalism" (by Ted Sider, in particular) but perdurantism also applies if one believes there are temporal but non-spatial abstract entities (like immaterial souls or universals of the sort accepted by David Malet Armstrong).[2]

Worm theorists and stage theorists

Perdurantists break into two distinct sub-groups: worm theorists and stage theorists.

Worm theorists believe that a persisting object is composed of the various temporal parts that it has. It can be said that objects that persist are extended through the time dimension of the block universe much as physical objects are extended in space. Thus, they believe that all persisting objects are four-dimensional "worms" that stretch across space-time, and that you are mistaken in believing that chairs, mountains, and people are simply three-dimensional.[3][4]

Stage theorists take discussion of persisting objects to be talk of a particular temporal part, or stage, of an object at any given time. So, in a manner of speaking, a subject only exists for an instantaneous period of time. However, there are other temporal parts at other times which that subject is related to in a certain way (Sider talks of "modal counterpart relations",[5] whilst Hawley talks of "non-Humean relations") such that when someone says that they were a child, or that they will be an elderly person, these things are true, because they bear a special "identity-like" relation to a temporal part that is a child (that exists in the past) or a temporal part that is an elderly person (that exists in the future). Stage theorists are sometimes called "exdurantists".

It has been argued that stage theory, unlike the worm theory, should be favored as it accurately accounts for the contents of our experience. The latter requires that we currently experience more than a single moment of our lives while we actually find ourselves experiencing only one instant of time, in line with the stage view.[6][7][8] However, on the other hand, as Stuchlik (2003) states, the stage theory will not work under the possibility of gunky time, which states that for every interval of time, there is a sub-interval, and according to Zimmerman (1996), there have been many self-professed perdurantists who believe that time is gunky or contains no instants. Some perdurantists think the idea of gunk means there are no instants, since they define these as intervals of time with no subintervals.

See also


  1. ^ See also: McKinnon (2002) and Merricks (1999)


  1. ^ a b Temporal parts - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  2. ^ Brian Garrett (2011). What Is This Thing Called Metaphysics?. Taylor & Francis. pp. 54–55. ISBN 978-1-136-79269-4.
  3. ^ Douglas Ehring (25 August 2011). Tropes: Properties, Objects, and Mental Causation. Oxford University Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-19-960853-9.
  4. ^ Timothy D. Miller (2007). Continuous Creation, Persistence, and Secondary Causation: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Theism. ProQuest. pp. 75–77. ISBN 978-0-549-39708-3.
  5. ^ Sider, Theodore (1996-09-01). "All the world's a stage". Australasian Journal of Philosophy. 74 (3): 433–453. doi:10.1080/00048409612347421. ISSN 0004-8402.
  6. ^ Balashov, Y. (2015). Experiencing the Present. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science, 44(2), 61-73.
  7. ^ Skow, B. (2011). Experience and the Passage of Time. Philosophical Perspectives, 25(1), 359-387.
  8. ^ Parsons, J. (2015). A phenomenological argument for stage theory. Analysis, 75(2), 237-242


External links

A series and B series

In philosophy, A series and B series are two different descriptions of the temporal ordering relation among events. The two series differ principally in their use of tense to describe the temporal relation between events. The terms were introduced by the Scottish idealist philosopher John McTaggart in 1908 as part of his argument for the unreality of time, but since then they have become widely used terms of reference in modern discussions of the philosophy of time.


An astrarium, also called a planetarium, is the mechanical representation of the cyclic nature of astronomical objects in one timepiece. It is an astronomical clock.

B-theory of time

The B-theory of time is the name given to one of two positions regarding philosophy of time. B-theorists argue that the flow of time is an illusion, that the past, present and future are equally real, and that time is tenseless. This would mean that temporal becoming is not an objective feature of reality.

B-theory is often drawn upon in theoretical physics, and in theories such as eternalism.


Chronometry (from Greek χρόνος chronos, "time" and μέτρον metron, "measure") is the science of the measurement of time, or timekeeping. Chronometry applies to electronic devices, while horology refers to mechanical devices.

It should not to be confused with chronology, the science of locating events in time, which often relies upon it.

Common year

A common year is a calendar year with 365 days, as distinguished from a leap year, which has 366. More generally, a common year is one without intercalation. The Gregorian calendar, (like the earlier Julian calendar), employs both common years and leap years to keep the calendar aligned with the tropical year, which does not contain an exact number of days.

The common year of 365 days has 52 weeks and one day, hence a common year always begins and ends on the same day of the week (for example, January 1 and December 31 fell on a Sunday in 2017) and the year following a common year will start on the subsequent day of the week. In common years, February has four weeks, so March will begin on the same day of the week. November will also begin on this day.

In the Gregorian calendar, 303 of every 400 years are common years. By comparison, in the Julian calendar, 300 out of every 400 years are common years, and in the Revised Julian calendar (used by Greece) 682 out of every 900 years are common years.


Endurantism or endurance theory is a philosophical theory of persistence and identity. According to the endurantist view, material objects are persisting three-dimensional individuals wholly present at every moment of their existence, which goes with an A-theory of time. This conception of an individual as always present is opposed to perdurantism or four dimensionalism, which maintains that an object is a series of temporal parts or stages, requiring a B-theory of time. The use of "endure" and "perdure" to distinguish two ways in which an object can be thought to persist can be traced to David Lewis.


Eternity in common parlance is an infinitely long period of time. In classical philosophy, however, eternity is defined as what exists outside time while sempiternity is the concept that corresponds to the colloquial definition of eternity.

Eternity is an important concept in many religions, where the god or gods are said to endure eternally. Some, such as Aristotle, would say the same about the natural cosmos in regard to both past and future eternal duration, and like the eternal Platonic forms, immutability was considered essential.

Event (philosophy)

In philosophy, events are objects in time or instantiations of properties in objects.


In philosophy, four-dimensionalism (also known as the doctrine of temporal parts) is an ontological position that an object's persistence through time is like its extension through space. Thus, an object that exists in time has temporal parts in the various subregions of the total region of time it occupies, just like an object that exists in a region of space has at least one part in every subregion of that space.Four-dimensionalists typically argue for treating time as analogous to space, usually leading them to endorse the doctrine of eternalism. This is a philosophical approach to the ontological nature of time, according to which all points in time are equally "real", as opposed to the presentist idea that only the present is real. As some eternalists argue by analogy, just as all spatially distant objects and events are equally as real as those close to us, temporally distant objects and events are as real as those currently present to us.Perdurantism—or perdurance theory—is a closely related philosophical theory of persistence and identity, according to which an individual has distinct temporal parts throughout its existence, and the persisting object is the sum or set of all of its temporal parts. This sum or set is colloquially referred to as a "space-time worm", which has earned the perdurantist view the moniker of "the worm view". While all perdurantists are plausibly considered four dimensionalists, at least one variety of four dimensionalism does not count as perdurantist in nature. This variety, known as exdurantism or the "stage view", is closely akin to the perdurantist position. They also countenance a view of persisting objects which have temporal parts that succeed one another through time. However, instead of identifying the persisting object as the entire set or sum of its temporal parts, the exdurantist argues that any object under discussion is a single stage (time-slice, temporal part, etc.), and that the other stages or parts which compose the persisting object are related to that part by a "temporal counterpart" relation.Though they have often been conflated, eternalism is a theory of what time is like and what times exist, while perdurantism is a theory about persisting objects and their identity conditions over time. Eternalism and perdurantism tend to be discussed together because many philosophers argue for a combination of eternalism and perdurantism. Sider (1997) uses the term four-dimensionalism to refer to perdurantism, but Michael Rea uses the term "four-dimensionalism" to mean the view that presentism is false as opposed to "perdurantism", the view that endurantism is false and persisting objects have temporal parts.


HD2IOA is the callsign of a time signal radio station operated by the Navy of Ecuador. The station is located at Guayaquil, Ecuador and transmits in the HF band on 3.81 and 7.6 MHz.The transmission is in AM mode with only the lower sideband (part of the time H3E and the rest H2B/H2D) and consists of 780 Hz tone pulses repeated every ten seconds and voice announcements in Spanish.

While sometimes this station is described as defunct, reception reports of this station on 3.81 MHz appear regularly at the Utility DX Forum.

Hexadecimal time

Hexadecimal time is the representation of the time of day as a hexadecimal number in the interval (0,1).

The day is divided into 1016 (1610) hexadecimal hours, each hour into 10016 (25610) hexadecimal minutes, and each minute into 1016 (1610) hexadecimal seconds.

Intercalation (timekeeping)

Intercalation or embolism in timekeeping is the insertion of a leap day, week, or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases. Lunisolar calendars may require intercalations of both days and months.


The minute is a unit of time or angle. As a unit of time, the minute is most of times equal to ​1⁄60 (the first sexagesimal fraction) of an hour, or 60 seconds. In the UTC time standard, a minute on rare occasions has 61 seconds, a consequence of leap seconds (there is a provision to insert a negative leap second, which would result in a 59-second minute, but this has never happened in more than 40 years under this system). As a unit of angle, the minute of arc is equal to ​1⁄60 of a degree, or 60 seconds (of arc). Although not an SI unit for either time or angle, the minute is accepted for use with SI units for both. The SI symbols for minute or minutes are min for time measurement, and the prime symbol after a number, e.g. 5′, for angle measurement. The prime is also sometimes used informally to denote minutes of time.

Philosophical presentism

Philosophical presentism is the view that neither the future nor the past exist. In some versions of presentism, this view is extended to timeless objects or ideas (such as numbers). According to presentism, events and entities that are wholly past or wholly future do not exist at all. Presentism contrasts with eternalism and the growing block theory of time which hold that past events, like the Battle of Waterloo, and past entities, like Alexander the Great's warhorse Bucephalus, really do exist, although not in the present. Eternalism extends to future events as well.

Philosophy of space and time

Philosophy of space and time is the branch of philosophy concerned with the issues surrounding the ontology, epistemology, and character of space and time. While such ideas have been central to philosophy from its inception, the philosophy of space and time was both an inspiration for and a central aspect of early analytic philosophy. The subject focuses on a number of basic issues, including whether time and space exist independently of the mind, whether they exist independently of one another, what accounts for time's apparently unidirectional flow, whether times other than the present moment exist, and questions about the nature of identity (particularly the nature of identity over time).

Static interpretation of time

The static interpretation of time is a view of time which arose in the early years of the 20th century from Einstein's special relativity and Hermann Minkowski's extension of special relativity in which time and space were famously united in physicists' thinking as spacetime.

Essentially the universe is regarded as akin to a reel of film – which is a wholly static physical object – but which when played through a movie projector conjures a world of movement, color, light and change. In the static view our whole universe – our past, present, and future are fixed parts of that reel of film, and the projector is our consciousness. But the 'happenings' of our consciousness have no objective significance – the objective universe does not happen, it simply exists in its entirety, albeit perceived from within as a world of changes.

The alternative, and commonly assumed view, is that the world unfolds in existence, that our present has some wider physical significance, because the universe evolves in step with it.

The static view is the simpler in that all that is held to exist is the physical ordering of the universe. All that there is at every time simply exists. The unfolding view requires an additional quality to the universe – that besides the physical ordering there is some quality of coming into and out of existence.

One can argue that the onus is therefore upon those who propose it, that the world unfolds, and that this additional quality they hold to (absent from special relativity) is indeed a physical feature of the world. There is however as yet no proof, experiment, or measurement, to show that our conscious experience of an unfolding present has any objective physical significance, or that the universe is anything other than static.

The static view is however commonly rejected for psychological, not scientific reasons, because it leads to a fatalistic or "fixed" conclusion about human existence – our 'past', 'present', and 'future' being what they are – there is no contingency in the world and no possibility of 'altering' or creating the future through some act of will – the future exists. It is simply that our consciousness has not yet reached it.

Temporal parts

In contemporary metaphysics, temporal parts are the parts of an object that exist in time. A temporal part would be something like "the first year of a person's life", or "all of a table from between 10:00 a.m. on June 21, 1994 to 11:00 p.m. on July 23, 1996". The term is used in the debate over the persistence of material objects. Objects typically have parts that exist in space—a human body, for example, has spatial parts like hands, feet, and legs. Some metaphysicists believe objects have temporal parts as well.

Originally it was argued that those who believe in temporal parts believe in perdurantism, that persisting objects are wholes composed entirely of temporal parts. This view was contrasted with endurantism, the claim that objects are wholly present at any one time (thus not having different temporal parts at different times). This claim is still commonplace, but philosophers like Ted Sider believe that even endurantists should accept temporal parts.

Tomorrow (time)

Tomorrow is a temporal construct of the relative future; literally of the day after the current day (today), or figuratively of future periods or times. Tomorrow is usually considered just beyond the present and counter to yesterday. It is important in time perception because it is the first direction the arrow of time takes humans on Earth.


YVTO is the callsign of the official time signal from the Juan Manuel Cagigal Naval Observatory in Caracas, Venezuela. The content of YVTO's signal, which is a continuous 1 kW amplitude modulated carrier wave at 5.000 MHz, is much simpler than that broadcast by some of the other time signal stations around the world, such as WWV.

The methods of time transmission from YVTO are very limited. The broadcast employs no form of digital time code. The time of day is given in Venezuelan Standard Time (VET), and is only sent using Spanish language voice announcements. YVTO also transmits 100 ms-long beeps of 1000 Hz every second, except for thirty seconds past the minute. The top of the minute is marked by a 0.5 second 800 Hz tone.The station previously broadcast on 6,100 MHz but appears to have changed to the current frequency by 1990.

Key concepts
Measurement and
  • Religion
  • Mythology
Philosophy of time
Human experience
and use of time
Time in
Related topics
in time
of time

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.