Structure in Classical Mechanics
Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||How do we figure out the fundamental nature of the world from a mathematically formulated physical theory? To figure out the nature of a world’s spacetime, we follow this rule: posit the least spacetime structure to the world that’s required by the fundamental dynamical laws. Applied to special relativity, for example, this rule tells us to not posit an absolute simultaneity structure. I suggest that we use this rule for more than just spacetime structure. We should also posit the least statespace structure required by the fundamental dynamical laws. This rule yields surprising conclusions. Applied to classical mechanics, it suggests that a world governed by the theory has less fundamental structure than we ordinarily think. For the theory’s statespace imparts less structure to a world’s physical space than we ordinarily think.|
|Keywords||classical mechanics structure Lagrangian mechanics statespace Newtonian mechanics|
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