Absolutism and relationism in space and time: A false dichotomy

The traditional absolutist-relationist controversy about space and time conflates four distinct issues: existence, abstraction, relationality and relativity. Terms which are relational, relative or abstract may denote items which possess contingent properties. Possession of such properties, including topological and geometrical properties, is therefore no indication of logical type. To fail to recognise the possibility of spaces, times and space-times of various logical types is to risk conflating two distinct ontological issues: a metaphysical issue concerning the existence of abstract objects and a question of physics concerning the existence of causally efficacious sub-strata which may or may not be needed to explain the contingent properties of the abstract objects. * Thanks are due to an anonymous fereree whose comments enabled me to improve an earlier version of this essay.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/39.2.183
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