General covariance and the objectivity of space-time point-events

"The last remnant of physical objectivity of space-time" is disclosed, beyond the Leibniz equivalence, in the case of a continuous family of spatially non-compact models of general relativity. The physical individuation of point-events is furnished by the intrinsic degrees of freedom of the gravitational field, (viz, the "Dirac observables") that represent - as it were - the "ontic" part of the metric field. The physical role of the "epistemic" part (viz. the "gauge" variables) is likewise clarified. At the end, a peculiar four-dimensional "holistic and structuralist" view of space-time emerges which includes elements common to the tradition of both substantivalism and relationism. The observables of our models undergo real "temporal change" and thereby provide a counter-example to the thesis of the "frozen-time" picture of evolution.
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Josep M. Pons (2005). On Dirac's Incomplete Analysis of Gauge Transformations. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 36 (3):491-518.

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