David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (1):5 – 16 (1999)
In this article I subject to criticism Field's argument, according to which field theory takes space-time to be substance since it ascribes field properties to space-time points. There is petitio principii error made in this reasoning because Field does not give any justification for his controversial assumption that fields are properties of space-time points. What is more, I suggest, Field's interpretation of field theory is incompatible with the way this theory is understood and utilized by its users, namely scientists. My criticism is based on the assumption that one cannot propose an ontology of a given scientific theory, at the same time imposing on it an interpretation which clashes with the interpretation current among its users. I also suggest that in order to establish the ontology of a scientific theory one should also take into account the way it has been constructed. According to this criterion, field theory does indeed take space-time to be a substance.
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References found in this work BETA
Hartry Field (1989). Realism, Mathematics & Modality. Basil Blackwell.
W. V. Quine (1976). The Ways of Paradox, and Other Essays. Harvard University Press.
Hartry Field (1980). Science Without Numbers. Princeton University Press.
John Earman & John Norton (1987). What Price Spacetime Substantivalism? The Hole Story. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (4):515-525.
Citations of this work BETA
Jerzy Gołosz (2005). Structural Essentialism and Determinism. Erkenntnis 63 (1):73 - 100.
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