David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 148 (2):443--68 (2006)
It is generally acknowledged that the requirement that the laws of a spacetime theory be covariant under a general coordinate transformation is a restriction on the form but not the content of the theory. The prevalent view in the physics community holds that the substantive version of general covariance – exhibited, for example, by Einstein’s general theory of relativity – consists in the requirement that diffeomorphism invariance is a gauge symmetry of the theory. This conception of general covariance is explained and confronted by two challenges. One challenge claims, in effect, that substantive general covariance is not deserving of the name since, just as it is possible to rewrite any spacetime so that it satisfies formal general covariance, so it is also possible to rewrite the theory so that it satisfies the proffered version of substantive general covariance. The other challenge claims that the proffered version of substantive general covariance is not strong enough to guarantee the intended meaning of general covariance. Both challenges are discussed in terms of concrete examples. It is argued that both challenges fail but, at the same time, that they help to clarify what is at stake on the seemingly never ending dispute over the nature and status of general covariance.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Metaphysics Philosophy of Language|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam (2006). Moderate Structural Realism About Space-Time. Synthese 160 (1):27 - 46.
Alexander Afriat & Ermenegildo Caccese (2010). The Relativity of Inertia and Reality of Nothing. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 41 (1):9-26.
Gary Gibbons & Clifford M. Will (2007). On the Multiple Deaths of Whitehead's Theory of Gravity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 39 (1):41-61.
J. Brian Pitts (2012). The Nontriviality of Trivial General Covariance: How Electrons Restrict 'Time' Coordinates, Spinors (Almost) Fit Into Tensor Calculus, and of a Tetrad is Surplus Structure. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 43 (1):1-24.
Similar books and articles
László E. Szabó (2004). On the Meaning of Lorentz Covariance. Foundations Of Physics Letters 17:479-496.
Simon Saunders (2002). Indiscernibles, General Covariance, and Other Symmetries. In Abhay Ashtekar, Jürgen Renn, Don Howard, Abner Shimony & S. Sarkar (eds.), Revisiting the Foundations of Relativistic Physics. Festschrift in Honour of John Stachel. Kluwer.
John D. Norton (1995). Did Einstein Stumble? The Debate Over General Covariance. Erkenntnis 42 (2):223 - 245.
Harvey Brown & Katherine Brading (2002). General Covariance From the Perspective of Noether's Theorems. Diálogos (Puerto Rico) 79:59-86.
J. Brian Pitts, Empirical Equivalence, Artificial Gauge Freedom and a Generalized Kretschmann Objection.
John D. Norton (2003). General Covariance, Gauge Theories and the Kretschmann Objection. In Katherine Brading & Elena Castellani (eds.), Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections. Cambridge University Press. 110--123.
Oliver Pooley (2010). Substantive General Covariance: Another Decade of Dispute. In Mauricio Suárez, Mauro Dorato & Miklós Rédei (eds.), EPSA Philosophical Issues in the Sciences: Launch of the European Philosophy of Science Association. Springer. 197--209.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads39 ( #61,252 of 1,696,461 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #92,976 of 1,696,461 )
How can I increase my downloads?