Against Pointillisme about Geometry

This paper forms part of a wider campaign: to deny pointillisme. That is the doctrine that a physical theory's fundamental quantities are defined at points of space or of spacetime, and represent intrinsic properties of such points or point-sized objects located there; so that properties of spatial or spatiotemporal regions and their material contents are determined by the point-by-point facts. More specifically, this paper argues against pointillisme about the structure of space and-or spacetime itself, especially a paper by Bricker (1993). A companion paper argues against pointillisme in mechanics, especially about velocity; it focusses on Tooley, Robinson and Lewis. To avoid technicalities, I conduct the argument almost entirely in the context of ``Newtonian'' ideas about space and time. But both the debate and my arguments carry over to relativistic, and even quantum, physics.
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DOI 10.1515/9783110333213.181
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Vincent Lam & Michael Esfeld (2012). The Structural Metaphysics of Quantum Theory and General Relativity. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 43 (2):243-258.

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