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1 — 50 / 58
  1. added 2018-10-03
    Background Independence: Lessons for Further Decades of Dispute.Trevor Teitel - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
    Background independence begins life as an informal property that a physical theory might have, often glossed as 'doesn't posit a fixed spacetime background'. Interest in trying to offer a precise account of background independence has been sparked by the pronouncements of several theorists working on quantum gravity that background independence embodies in some sense an essential discovery of the General Theory of Relativity, and a feature we should strive to carry forward to future physical theories. This paper has two goals. (...)
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  2. added 2018-08-16
    Relative Locations.Andrew Bacon - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    The fact that physical laws often admit certain kinds of space-time symmetries is often thought to be problematic for substantivalism --- the view that space-time is as real as the objects it contains. The most prominent alternative, relationism, avoids these problems but at the cost of giving abstract objects (rather than space-time points) a pivotal role in the fundamental metaphysics. This incurs related problems concerning the relation of the physical to the mathematical. In this paper I will present a version (...)
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  3. added 2018-07-06
    Leibniz on the Modal Status of Absolute Space and Time.Martin Lin - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):447-464.
  4. added 2018-03-02
    On Spacetime Functionalism.David John Baker - manuscript
    Eleanor Knox has argued that our concept of spacetime applies to whichever structure plays a certain functional role in the laws (the role of determining local inertial structure). I raise two complications for this approach. First, our spacetime concept seems to have the structure of a cluster concept, which means that Knox's inertial criteria for spacetime cannot succeed with complete generality. Second, the notion of metaphysical fundamentality may feature in the spacetime concept, in which case spacetime functionalism may be uninformative (...)
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  5. added 2018-02-17
    Substances and Space-Time: What Aristotle Would Have Said to Einstein.Tim Maudlin - 1990 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 21 (4):531-561.
  6. added 2017-11-03
    Minimal Structural Essentialism: Why Physics Doesn’T Care Which is Which.David Glick - 2015 - In Alexandre Guay & Thomas Pradeu (eds.), Individuals Across the Sciences. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 207-225.
    The ways in which space-time points and elementary particles are modeled share a curious feature: neither seems to specify which basic object has which properties. This chapter sketches the motivation for this claim and searches for an explanation for it. After reviewing several proposals, it argues for a view according to which objects occupy their place in a given relational structure essentially. This view, which is termed minimal structural essentialism, provides a metaphysical grounding for the physical equivalence of models related (...)
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  7. added 2017-09-09
    Geometric Possibility, by Gordon Belot. [REVIEW]Syman Stevens - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):909-913.
  8. added 2017-05-05
    The Deep Metaphysics of Space: An Alternative History and Ontology Beyond Substantivalism and Relationism.Edward Slowik - 2016 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
    This volume explores the inadequacies of the two standard conceptions of space or spacetime, substantivalism and relationism, and in the process, proposes a new historical interpretation of these physical theories. This book also examines and develops alternative ontological conceptions of space, such as the property theory of space and emergent spacetime hypotheses, and explores additional historical elements of seventeenth century theories and other metaphysical themes. Readers will learn about specific problems with the substantivalism versus relationism dichotomy. First, Newton and Leibniz (...)
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  9. added 2017-05-05
    Cartesian Spacetime: Descartes' Physics and Relational Theory of Space and Motion.Edward Slowik - 2002 - Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.
    Although Descartes’ natural philosophy marked an important advance in the development of modern science, many of his specific concepts of science have been largely discarded, and consequently neglected, since their introduction in the seventeenth century. Many critics over the years, such as Newton (in his early paper De gravitatione), have presented a series of apparently devastating arguments against Descartes' theory of space and motion; a generally negative historical verdict which, moreover, most contemporary scholars accept. Nevertheless, it is also true that (...)
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  10. added 2016-12-12
    Who's Afraid of Absolute Space?John Earman - 1970 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3):287-319.
  11. added 2016-12-08
    Space, Supervenience and Substantivalism.R. Le Poidevin - 2004 - Analysis 64 (3):191-198.
  12. added 2016-07-15
    Space, Time, and (How They) Matter: A Discussion About Some Metaphysical Insights Provided by Our Best Fundamental Physical Theories.Valia Allori - 2016 - In G. C. Ghirardi & S. Wuppuluri (eds.), Space, Time, and The Limits of Human Understanding. Springer. pp. 95-107.
    This paper is a brief (and hopelessly incomplete) non-standard introduction to the philosophy of space and time. It is an introduction because I plan to give an overview of what I consider some of the main questions about space and time: Is space a substance over and above matter? How many dimensions does it have? Is space-time fundamental or emergent? Does time have a direction? Does time even exist? Nonetheless, this introduction is not standard because I conclude the discussion by (...)
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  13. added 2016-05-29
    Geometry and Motion.Gordon Belot - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (4):561--95.
    I will discuss only one of the several entwined strands of the philosophy of space and time, the question of the relation between the nature of motion and the geometrical structure of the world.1 This topic has many of the virtues of the best philosophy of science. It is of long-standing philosophical interest and has a rich history of connections to problems of physics. It has loomed large in discussions of space and time among contemporary philosophers of science. Furthermore, there (...)
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  14. added 2016-02-26
    Relational and Substantival Ontologies, and the Nature and the Role of Primitives in Ontological Theories.Jiri Benovsky - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (1):101-121.
    Several metaphysical debates have typically been modeled as oppositions between a relationist approach and a substantivalist approach. Such debates include the Bundle Theory and the Substratum Theory about ordinary material objects, the Bundle (Humean) Theory and the Substance (Cartesian) Theory of the Self, and Relationism and Substantivalism about time. In all three debates, the substantivalist side typically insists that in order to provide a good treatment of the subject-matter of the theory (time, Self, material objects), it is necessary to postulate (...)
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  15. added 2016-02-05
    Making Room for Particulars: Plato’s Receptacle as Space, Not Substratum.Christopher Buckels - 2016 - Apeiron 49 (3):303-328.
    The ‘traditional’ interpretation of the Receptacle in Plato’s Timaeus maintains that its parts act as substrata to ordinary particulars such as dogs and tables: particulars are form-matter compounds to which Forms supply properties and the Receptacle supplies a substratum, as well as a space in which these compounds come to be. I argue, against this view, that parts of the Receptacle cannot act as substrata for those particulars. I also argue, making use of contemporary discussions of supersubstantivalism, against a substratum (...)
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  16. added 2015-11-23
    Relativity and Three Four‐Dimensionalisms.Cody Gilmore, Damiano Costa & Claudio Calosi - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (2):102-120.
    Relativity theory is often said to support something called ‘the four-dimensional view of reality’. But there are at least three different views that sometimes go by this name. One is ‘spacetime unitism’, according to which there is a spacetime manifold, and if there are such things as points of space or instants of time, these are just spacetime regions of different sorts: thus space and time are not separate manifolds. A second is the B-theory of time, according to which the (...)
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  17. added 2015-11-13
    Super-Relationism: Combining Eliminativism About Objects and Relationism About Spacetime.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2151-2172.
    I will introduce and motivate eliminativist super-relationism. This is the conjunction of relationism about spacetime and eliminativism about material objects. According to the view, the universe is a big collection of spatio-temporal relations and natural properties, and no substance (material or spatio-temporal) exists in it. The view is original since eliminativism about material objects, when understood as including not only ordinary objects like tables or chairs but also physical particles, is generally taken to imply substantivalism about spacetime: if properties are (...)
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  18. added 2015-11-12
    Perspectivas modernas: Leibniz, Newton y Kant.Martin F. Fricke - 2012 - In Rosario Gómez, Adam Sellen & Arturo Taracena Arriola (eds.), Diálogos sobre los espacios: imaginados, percibidos y construidos. Mérida, Mexico: UNAM. pp. 47-78.
    El capítulo introduce al debate sobre la naturaleza del espacio entre Leibniz y Clarke/Newton y a la posición que adopta Kant más tarde. En particular, se exponen los dos principales argumentos de Leibniz, basados en los Principios de Razón Suficiente e Identidad de Indiscernibles, en favor del relacionismo así como algunas respuestas de Clarke/Newton. También se presenta el argumento basado en la orientación del espacio que propuso Kant en 1768 para refutar el relacionismo de Leibniz. Se concluye con una breve (...)
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  19. added 2015-09-11
    Spacetime, Ontology, and Structural Realism.Edward Slowik - 2004 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (2):147 – 166.
    This essay explores the possibility of constructing a structural realist interpretation of spacetime theories that can resolve the ontological debate between substantivalists and relationists. Drawing on various structuralist approaches in the philosophy of mathematics, as well as on the theoretical complexities of general relativity, our investigation will reveal that a structuralist approach can be beneficial to the spacetime theorist as a means of deflating some of the ontological disputes regarding similarly structured spacetimes.
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  20. added 2015-09-07
    The ‘Space’ at the Intersection of Platonism and Nominalism.Edward Slowik - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (2):393-408.
    This essay explores the use of platonist and nominalist concepts, derived from the philosophy of mathematics and metaphysics, as a means of elucidating the debate on spacetime ontology and the spatial structures endorsed by scientific realists. Although the disputes associated with platonism and nominalism often mirror the complexities involved with substantivalism and relationism, it will be argued that a more refined three-part distinction among platonist/nominalist categories can nonetheless provide unique insights into the core assumptions that underlie spatial ontologies, but it (...)
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  21. added 2015-09-07
    The Deep Metaphysics of Quantum Gravity: The Seventeenth Century Legacy and an Alternative Ontology Beyond Substantivalism and Relationism.Edward Slowik - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4):490-499.
    This essay presents an alternative to contemporary substantivalist and relationist interpretations of quantum gravity hypotheses by means of an historical comparison with the ontology of space in the seventeenth century. Utilizing differences in the spatial geometry between the foundational theory and the theory derived from the foundational, in conjunction with nominalism and platonism, it will be argued that there are crucial similarities between seventeenth century and contemporary theories of space, and that these similarities reveal a host of underlying conceptual issues (...)
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  22. added 2015-09-07
    Newton’s Neo-Platonic Ontology of Space.Edward Slowik - 2013 - Foundations of Science 18 (3):419-448.
    This paper investigates Newton’s ontology of space in order to determine its commitment, if any, to both Cambridge neo-Platonism, which posits an incorporeal basis for space, and substantivalism, which regards space as a form of substance or entity. A non-substantivalist interpretation of Newton’s theory has been famously championed by Howard Stein and Robert DiSalle, among others, while both Stein and the early work of J. E. McGuire have downplayed the influence of Cambridge neo-Platonism on various aspects of Newton’s own spatial (...)
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  23. added 2015-04-08
    Space, Supervenience and Substantivalism.Robin Le Poidevin - 2004 - Analysis 64 (3):191 - 198.
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  24. added 2014-10-08
    On Where Things Could Be.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (1):60-80.
    Some philosophers respond to Leibniz’s “shift” argument against absolute space by appealing to antihaecceitism about possible worlds, using David Lewis’s counterpart theory. But separated from Lewis’s distinctive system, it is difficult to understand what this doctrine amounts to or how it bears on the Leibnizian argument. In fact, the best way of making sense of the relevant kind of antihaecceitism concedes the main point of the Leibnizian argument, pressing us to consider alternative spatiotemporal metaphysics.
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  25. added 2014-04-30
    Holism and Structuralism in Classical and Quantum General Relativity.Mauro Dorato & Massimo Pauri - 2006 - In Dean Rickles, Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 121-151.
    The main aim of our paper is to show that interpretative issues belonging to classical General Relativity (GR) might be preliminary to a deeper understanding of conceptual problems stemming from on-going attempts at constructing a quantum theory of gravity. Among such interpretative issues, we focus on the meaning of general covariance and the related question of the identity of points, by basing our investigation on the Hamiltonian formulation of GR. In particular, we argue that the adoption of a peculiar gauge-fixing (...)
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  26. added 2014-03-28
    Incongruent Counterparts and Modal Relationism.Carolyn Brighouse - 1999 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (1):53 – 68.
    Kant's argument from incongruent counterparts for substantival space is examined; it is concluded that the argument has no force against a relationist. The argument does suggest that a relationist cannot give an account of enantiomorphism, incongruent counterparts and orientability. The prospects for a relationist account of these notions are assessed, and it is found that they are good provided the relationist is some kind of modal relationist. An illustration and interpretation of these modal commitments is given.
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  27. added 2014-03-28
    Why Manifold Substantivalism is Probably Not a Consequence of Classical Mechanics.Nick Huggett - 1999 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (1):17 – 34.
    This paper develops and defends three related forms of relationism about spacetime against attacks by contemporary substantivalists. It clarifies Newton's globes argument to show that it does not bear on relations that fail to determine geodesic motions, since the inertial effects on which Newton relies are not simply correlated with affine structure, but must be understood in dynamical terms. It develops remarks by Sklar and van Fraassen into relational versions of Newtonian mechanics, and argues that Earman does not show them (...)
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  28. added 2014-03-27
    Kant's Hands and Earman's Pions: Chirality Arguments for Substantival Space.Carl Hoefer - 2000 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (3):237 – 256.
    This paper outlines a new interpretation of an argument of Kant's for the existence of absolute space. The Kant argument, found in a 1768 essay on topology, argues for the existence of Newtonian-Euclidean absolute space on the basis of the existence of incongruous counterparts (such as a left and a right hand, or any asymmetrical object and its mirror-image). The clear, intrinsic difference between a left hand and a right hand, Kant claimed, cannot be understood on a relational view of (...)
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  29. added 2014-03-20
    Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections.Katherine A. Brading & Elena Castellani (eds.) - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
    Highlighting main issues and controversies, this book brings together current philosophical discussions of symmetry in physics to provide an introduction to the subject for physicists and philosophers. The contributors cover all the fundamental symmetries of modern physics, such as CPT and permutation symmetry, as well as discussing symmetry-breaking and general interpretational issues. Classic texts are followed by new review articles and shorter commentaries for each topic. Suitable for courses on the foundations of physics, philosophy of physics and philosophy of science, (...)
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  30. added 2014-03-18
    Absolute Quantum Mechanics.Steven Weinstein - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (1):67-73.
    Whereas one can conceive of a relational classical mechanics in which absolute space and time do not play a fundamental role, quantum mechanics does not readily admit any such relational formulation.
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  31. added 2014-03-14
    Field Unification in the Maxwell‐Lorentz Theory with Absolute Space.Robert Rynasiewicz - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1063-1072.
    Although Trautman (1966) appears to give a unified‐field treatment of electrodynamics in Newtonian spacetime, there are difficulties in cogently interpreting it as such in relation to the facts of electromagnetic and magneto‐electric induction. Presented here is a covariant, nonunified field treatment of the Maxwell‐Lorentz theory with absolute space. This dispels a worry in Earman (1989) as to whether there are any historically realistic examples in which absolute space plays an indispensable role. It also shows how Trautman's formulation can be rendered (...)
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  32. added 2014-03-09
    Spacetime Substantivalism and Einstein’s Cosmological Constant.David Baker - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1299-1311.
    I offer a novel argument for spacetime substantivalism: We should take the spacetime of general relativity to be a substance because of its active role in gravitational causation. As a clear example of this causal behavior I offer the cosmological constant, a term in the most general form of the Einstein field equations which causes free floating objects to accelerate apart. This acceleration cannot, I claim, be causally explained except by reference to spacetime itself.
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  33. added 2014-03-06
    Substrata and Properties: From Bare Particulars to Supersubstantivalism?Matteo Morganti - 2011 - Metaphysica 12 (2):183-195.
    An argument to the effect that, under a few reasonable assumptions, the bare particular ontology is best understood in terms of supersubstativalism: objects are identical to regions of space(-time) and properties directly inhere in space(-time) points or region as their bearers.
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  34. added 2014-03-05
    Physical Geometry and Fundamental Metaphysics.Cian Dorr - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (1pt1):135-159.
    I explore some ways in which one might base an account of the fundamental metaphysics of geometry on the mathematical theory of Linear Structures recently developed by Tim Maudlin (2010). Having considered some of the challenges facing this approach, Idevelop an alternative approach, according to which the fundamental ontology includes concrete entities structurally isomorphic to functions from space-time points to real numbers.
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  35. added 2014-03-04
    The Relationist and Substantivalist Theories of Time: Foes or Friends?Jiri Benovsky - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (4):491-506.
    Abstract: There are two traditionally rival views about the nature of time: substantivalism that takes time to be a substance that exists independently of events located in it, and relationism that takes time to be constructed out of events. In this paper, first, I want to make some progress with respect to the debate between these two views, and I do this mainly by examining the strategies they use to face the possibilities of ‘empty time’ and ‘time without change’. As (...)
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  36. added 2013-09-09
    World Enough and Spacetime.John Earman - 1989 - MIT press.
  37. added 2013-07-01
    Location and Mereology.Cody Gilmore - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  38. added 2013-01-21
    Building Enduring Objects Out of Spacetime.Cody Gilmore - 2014 - In Claudio Calosi & Pierluigi Graziani (eds.), Mereology and the Sciences: Parts and Wholes in the Contemporary Scientific Context. Springer. pp. 5-34.
    Endurantism, the view that material objects are wholly present at each moment of their careers, is under threat from supersubstantivalism, the view that material objects are identical to spacetime regions. I discuss three compromise positions. They are alike in that they all take material objects to be composed of spacetime points or regions without being identical to any such point or region. They differ in whether they permit multilocation and in whether they generate cases of mereologically coincident entities.
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  39. added 2012-05-21
    Spacetime and Holes.Carolyn Brighouse - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:117 - 125.
    John Earman and John Norton have argued that substantivalism leads to a radical form of indeterminism within local spacetime theories. I compare their argument to more traditional arguments typical in the Relationist/Substantivalist dispute and show that they all fail for the same reason. All these arguments ascribe to the substantivalist a particular way of talking about possibility. I argue that the substantivalist is not committed to the modal claims required for the arguments to have any force, and show that this (...)
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  40. added 2012-03-16
    Substantivalist and Relationalist Approaches to Spacetime.Oliver Pooley - 2013 - In Robert Batterman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oxford University Press.
    Substantivalists believe that spacetime and its parts are fundamental constituents of reality. Relationalists deny this, claiming that spacetime enjoys only a derivative existence. I begin by describing how the Galilean symmetries of Newtonian physics tell against both Newton's brand of substantivalism and the most obvious relationalist alternative. I then review the obvious substantivalist response to the problem, which is to ditch substantival space for substantival spacetime. The resulting position has many affinities with what are arguably the most natural interpretations of (...)
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  41. added 2011-04-04
    Calculus as Geometry.Frank Arntenius & Cian Dorr - 2012 - In Frank Arntzenius (ed.), Space, Time and Stuff. Oxford University Press.
    We attempt to extend the nominalistic project initiated in Hartry Field's Science Without Numbers to modern physical theories based in differential geometry.
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  42. added 2010-12-05
    Universalism, Vagueness and Supersubstantivalism.Nikk Effingham - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):35 – 42.
    Sider has a favourable view of supersubstantivalism (the thesis that all material objects are identical to the regions of spacetime that they occupy). This paper argues that given supersubstantivalism, Sider's argument from vagueness for (mereological) universalism fails. I present Sider's vagueness argument (§§II-III), and explain why - given supersubstantivalism - some but not all regions must be concrete in order for the argument to work (§IV). Given this restriction on what regions can be concrete, I give a reductio of Sider's (...)
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  43. added 2010-03-13
    Some Background to the Absolute-Relational Debate.Gordon Belot - manuscript
    Some notes discussing some of the ancient and medieval background to the absolute-relational debate. Final version appears as Appendix C in my book, Geometric Possibility.
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  44. added 2010-03-06
    Once Upon a Spacetime.Bradford Skow - manuscript
  45. added 2010-02-16
    Reflections on Parity Nonconservation.Nick Huggett - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (2):219-241.
    This paper considers the implications for the relational-substantival debate of observations of parity nonconservation in weak interactions, a much neglected topic. It is argued that 'geometric proofs' of absolute space, first proposed by Kant (1768), fail, but that parity violating laws allow 'mechanical proofs', like Newton's laws. Parity violating laws are explained and arguments analogous to those of Newton's Scholium are constructed to show that they require absolute spacetime structure--namely, an orientation--as Newtonian mechanics requires affine structure. Finally, it is considered (...)
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  46. added 2010-02-16
    Absolute Versus Relational Space-Time: An Outmoded Debate?Robert Rynasiewicz - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (6):279-306.
  47. added 2010-02-16
    On the Existence of Time, Space and Space-Time.Paul Horwich - 1978 - Noûs 12 (4):397-419.
  48. added 2010-02-16
    Hands, Knees, and Absolute Space.Graham Nerlich - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (12):337-351.
  49. added 2010-02-16
    Incongruent Counterparts and Absolute Space.Peter Remnant - 1963 - Mind 72 (287):393-399.
  50. added 2010-02-16
    The Philosophical Retention of Absolute Space in Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.Adolf Grunbaum - 1957 - Philosophical Review 66 (4):525-534.
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