Is special relativistic time dilation a real effect or just an illusion? Given two inertial frames each observer finds that the clock of the other runs slower than that observer’s own clock. So who is right? 

This is a pretty good answer except that I wouldn’t say either of them is right if they think that their perception of relative slowness represents something that is objectively true for all observers.

Time dilation is a real effect on the perceptions of observers (with regard to the rates at which one another’s clocks are ticking). Neither of them is “right” if they think there is any real sense in which the other’s clock is objectively slower. But neither of them is wrong about how it appears to them, so it’s not really an illusion any more than the fact that if they are looking at one another then their ideas of the “forward” direction are opposite to one another. What turns out to be more of an illusion is the sense we all have that there is some absolute standard of time which determines which of two spatially separated events occurs before the other.

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