Relationalism rehabilitated? I: Classical mechanics

The implications for the substantivalist–relationalist controversy of Barbour and Bertotti's successful implementation of a Machian approach to dynamics are investigated. It is argued that in the context of Newtonian mechanics, the Machian framework provides a genuinely relational interpretation of dynamics and that it is more explanatory than the conventional, substantival interpretation. In a companion paper (Pooley [2002a]), the viability of the Machian framework as an interpretation of relativistic physics is explored. 1 Introduction 2 Newton versus Leibniz 3 Absolute space versus an affine connection 4 Anti-relationalist arguments 5 Rehabilitating relationalism 6 Dynamics on the relative configuration space 7 Intrinsic particle dynamics 8 Conclusion.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/53.2.183
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Gordon Belot (2003). Symmetry and Gauge Freedom. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 34 (2):189-225.
Bradford Skow (2007). Sklar's Maneuver. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (4):777 - 786.

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