Here, we examine hole-freeness - a condition sometimes imposed to rule out seemingly artificial spacetimes. We show that under existing definitions (and contrary to claims made in the literature) there exist inextendible, globally hyperbolic spacetimes which fail to be hole-free. We then propose an updated formulation of the condition which enables us to show the intended result. We conclude with a few general remarks on the strength of the definition and then formulate a precise question which may be interpreted as: (...) Are all physically reasonable spacetimes hole-free? (shrink)
Cosmologists often use certain global properties to exclude "physically unreasonable" cosmological models from serious consideration. But, on what grounds should these properties be regarded as "physically unreasonable" if we cannot rule out, even with a robust type of inductive reasoning, the possibility of the properties obtaining in our own universe?
We present a counterexample to Krasnikov's (2002) much discussed time machine no-go result. In addition, we prove a positive statement: a time machine existence theorem under a modest "no holes" assumption.
Malament-Hogarth spacetimes are the sort of models within general relativity that seem to allow for the possibility of supertasks. There are various ways in which these spacetimes might be considered physically problematic. Here, we examine these criticisms and investigate the prospect of escaping them.
This document collects discussion and commentary on issues raised in the workshop by its participants. Contributors are: Greg Frost-Arnold, David Harker, P. D. Magnus, John Manchak, John D. Norton , J. Brian Pitts, Kyle Stanford, Dana Tulodziecki.
Here, we briefly review the notion of observational indistinguishability within the context of classical general relativity. We settle a conjecture given by Malament (1977) concerning the subject and then strengthen the result considerably. The upshot is this: There seems to be a robust sense in which the global structure of every cosmological model is underdetermined.
There does not seem to be a consistent way to ground the concept of “force” in Cartesian first principles. In this article, I first review the literature on the subject. Then, I offer an alternative interpretation of force—one that seems to be coherent and consistent with Descartes’ project. Not only does the new position avoid the problems of previous interpretations, but it does so in such a way as to support and justify those previous interpretations. *Received June 2007; revised June (...) 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Washington, Box 353350, Seattle, WA 98195; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Within the context of general relativity, we consider one definition of a “time machine” proposed by Earman, Smeenk, and Wüthrich. They conjecture that, under their definition, the class of time machine spacetimes is not empty. Here, we prove this conjecture. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Washington, Box 353350, Seattle, WA 98195‐3350; e‐mail: email@example.com.
Here we briefly review the concept of "prediction" within the context of classical relativity theory. We prove a theorem asserting that one may predict one's own future only in a closed universe. We then question whether prediction is possible at all (even in closed universes). We note that interest in prediction has stemmed from considering the epistemological predicament of the observer. We argue that the definitions of prediction found thus far in the literature do not fully appreciate this predicament. We (...) propose a more adequate alternative and show that, under this definition, prediction is essentially impossible in general relativity. (shrink)
It has been suggested by Clark Glymour that the spatio-temporal structure of the universe might be underdetermined by all observational data that could ever, theoretically, be gathered. It is possible for two spacetimes to be observationally indistinguishable (OI) yet topologically distinct. David Malament extended the argument for the underdetermination of spacetime structure by showing that under quite general conditions (such as the absence of any closed timelike curves) a spacetime will always have an OI counterpart (at least in weak sense). (...) Because the plight of the cosmologist seemed to be so discouraging in this regard, Malament considered the relationship between global properties and OI spacetimes. This information is helpful to the cosmologist. It allows, in principle, one to reject some spacetime models based on observational evidence. In this paper, I consider the relationship between variants of geodesic incompleteness and different senses (some old and some new) of OI. In light of the findings, it seems that (for the most part) the predicament of the cosmologist is not good. Quite generally, versions of geodesic incompleteness are not conserved even under the strongest formulations of OI. (shrink)
Non-collapse theories of quantum mechanics have the peculiar characteristic that, although their measurements produce definite results, their state vectors remain in a superposition of possible outcomes. David Albert has used this fact to show that the standard uncertainty relations can be violated if self-measurements are made. Bradley Monton, however, has held that Albert has not been careful enough in his treatment of self-measurement and that being more careful (considering mental state supervenience) implies no violation of the relations. In this paper, (...) I will outline both Albert's proposal and Monton's objections. Then, I will show how the uncertainty relations can be violated after all (even after being as careful as Monton). Finally, I will discuss how finding a way around the objections allows us to learn more about what is and what is not possible in non-collapse theories of quantum mechanics. (shrink)