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  1. A Metaphysics for Contemporary Field Theories.Paul Teller - 1997 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 28 (4):507-522.
  • What Price Determinism? The Hole Story!Dean Rickles - unknown
    In their modern classic ``What Price Substantivalism? The Hole Story'' Earman and Norton argued that substantivalism about spacetime points implies that general relativity is indeterministic and, for that reason, must be rejected as a candidate ontology for the theory. More recently, Earman has cottoned on to a related argument (in fact, related to a \emph{response} to the hole argument) that arises in the context of canonical general relativity, according to which the enforcing of determinism along standard lines---using the machinery of (...)
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  • 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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  • Once Upon a Spacetime.Bradford Skow - manuscript
  • 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.
  • Fifty Million Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong.Gordon Belot - 2018 - Noûs:946-981.
    This essay revisits some classic problems in the philosophy of space and time concerning the counting of possibilities. I argue that we should think that two Newtonian worlds can differ only as to when or where things happen and that general relativistic worlds can differ in something like the same way—the first of these theses being quaintly heterodox, the second baldly heretical, according to the mores of contemporary philosophy of physics.
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  • Laplace’s Demon Tries on Aristotle’s Cloak: On Two Approaches to Determinism.Tomasz Placek - 2016 - Synthese 196 (1):11-30.
    The paper describes two approaches to determinism: one focuses on the features of global objects, such as possible worlds or models of a theory, whereas the other’s concern is the possible behaviour of individual objects. It then gives an outline of an individuals-based analysis of the determinism of theories. Finally, a general relativistic spacetime with non-isometric extensions is described and used to illustrate a conflict between the two approaches: this spacetime is indeterministic by the first approach but deterministic by the (...)
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  • Defining Determinism.Thomas Müller & Tomasz Placek - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69:215-252.
    The article puts forward a branching-style framework for the analysis of determinism and indeterminism of scientific theories, starting from the core idea that an indeterministic system is one whose present allows for more than one alternative possible future. We describe how a definition of determinism stated in terms of branching models supplements and improves current treatments of determinism of theories of physics. In these treatments, we identify three main approaches: one based on the study of equations, one based on mappings (...)
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  • Explaining Leibniz Equivalence as Difference of Non-Inertial Appearances: Dis-Solution of the Hole Argument and Physical Individuation of Point-Events.Luca Lusanna & Massimo Pauri - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (4):692-725.
    ”The last remnant of physical objectivity of space-time” is disclosed in the case of a continuous family of spatially non-compact models of general relativity (GR). The physical individuation of point-events is furnished by the autonomous degrees of freedom of the gravitational field, (viz, the Dirac observables) which 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 as embodying the unavoidable non-inertial aspects of GR. At (...)
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  • Explaining Leibniz Equivalence as Difference of Non-Inertial Appearances: Dis-Solution of the Hole Argument and Physical Individuation of Point-Events.Luca Lusanna & Massimo Pauri - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (4):692-725.
    ”The last remnant of physical objectivity of space-time” is disclosed 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 autonomous degrees of freedom of the gravitational field, which represent -as it were -the ontic part of the metric field. The physical role of the epistemic part is likewise clarified as embodying the unavoidable non-inertial aspects of GR. At the end the philosophical import of the Hole Argument (...)
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  • Points, Particles, and Structural Realism.Oliver Pooley - 2005 - In Dean Rickles, Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity. Oxford University Press. pp. 83--120.
    In his paper ``What is Structural Realism?'' James Ladyman drew a distinction between epistemological structural realism and metaphysical (or ontic) structural realism. He also drew a suggestive analogy between the perennial debate between substantivalist and relationalist interpretations of spacetime on the one hand, and the debate about whether quantum mechanics treats identical particles as individuals or as `non-individuals' on the other. In both cases, Ladyman's suggestion is that an ontic structural realist interpretation of the physics might be just what is (...)
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  • Particles, Objects, and Physics.Justin Pniower - unknown
    This thesis analyses the ontological nature of quantum particles. In it I argue that quantum particles, despite their indistinguishability, are objects in much the same way as classical particles. This similarity provides an important point of continuity between classical and quantum physics. I consider two notions of indistinguishability, that of indiscernibility and permutation symmetry. I argue that neither sort of indistinguishability undermines the identity of quantum particles. I further argue that, when we understand in distinguishability in terms of permutation symmetry, (...)
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  • Explaining Leibniz Equivalence as Difference of Non-Inertial Appearances: Dis-Solution of the Hole Argument and Physical Individuation of Point-Events.Luca Lusanna & Massimo Pauri - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (4):692-725.
    ”The last remnant of physical objectivity of space-time” is disclosed 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 autonomous degrees of freedom of the gravitational field, which represent -as it were -the ontic part of the metric field. The physical role of the epistemic part is likewise clarified as embodying the unavoidable non-inertial aspects of GR. At the end the philosophical import of the Hole Argument (...)
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  • 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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  • Emergence, Reduction and Supervenience: A Varied Landscape. [REVIEW]Jeremy Butterfield - unknown
    This is one of two papers about emergence, reduction and supervenience. It expounds these notions and analyses the general relations between them. The companion paper analyses the situation in physics, especially limiting relations between physical theories. I shall take emergence as behaviour that is novel and robust relative to some comparison class. I shall take reduction as deduction using appropriate auxiliary definitions. And I shall take supervenience as a weakening of reduction, viz. to allow infinitely long definitions. The overall claim (...)
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  • Contingentism in Metaphysics.Kristie Miller - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (11):965-977.
    In a lot of domains in metaphysics the tacit assumption has been that whichever metaphysical principles turn out to be true, these will be necessarily true. Let us call necessitarianism about some domain the thesis that the right metaphysics of that domain is necessary. Necessitarianism has flourished. In the philosophy of maths we find it held that if mathematical objects exist, then they do of necessity. Mathematical Platonists affirm the necessary existence of mathematical objects (see for instance Hale and Wright (...)
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  • Structural Essentialism and Determinism.Jerzy Gołosz - 2005 - Erkenntnis 63 (1):73-100.
    The paper tries to develop Bartels’s modern essentialism as a structural-role theory of identity for spacetime points. I adopt Hoefer’s idea of denying primitive identity for this theory and apply it to GTR and prerelativistic physics to find different versions of essentialism and different definitions of determinism which are coherent with them. I also try to argue that modified essentialism helps us to refute objections raised against essentialism and offers us the best understanding of prerelativistic and relativistic theories.
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  • A New Spin on the Hole Argument.Dean Rickles - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (3):415-434.
    This brief paper shows how an exact analogue of Einstein's original hole argument can be constructed in the loop representation of quantum gravity. The new argument is based on the embedding of spin-networks in a manifold and the action of the diffeomorphism constraint on them. The implications of this result are then discussed. I argue that the conclusions of many physicists working on loop quantum gravity---Rovelli and Smolin in particular---that the loop representation uniquely supports relationalism are unfounded.
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  • A New Spin on the Hole Argument.Dean Rickles - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (3):415-434.
    This brief paper shows how an exact analogue of Einstein's original hole argument can be constructed in the loop representation of quantum gravity. The new argument is based on the embedding of spin-networks in a manifold and the action of the diffeomorphism constraint on them. The implications of this result are then discussed. I argue that the conclusions of many physicists working on loop quantum gravity---Rovelli and Smolin in particular---that the loop representation uniquely supports relationalism are unfounded.
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  • Relativistic Spacetimes and Definitions of Determinism.Juliusz Doboszewski - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (2):24.
    I discuss candidates for definitions of determinism in the context of general relativistic spacetimes, and argue that a definition which does not make recourse to any particular region of spacetime should be preferred over alternatives; one such notion is discussed in detail in the light of various physical examples. The emerging picture of determinism is a pluralist one: sometimes there is no unique way of making our intuitive concept of determinism precise. Instead, what is crucial for assessment of determinism of (...)
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  • Symmetries and Paraparticles as a Motivation for Structuralism.Adam Caulton & Jeremy Butterfield - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (2):233-285.
    This article develops an analogy proposed by Stachel between general relativity (GR) and quantum mechanics (QM) as regards permutation invariance. Our main idea is to overcome Pooley's criticism of the analogy by appeal to paraparticles. In GR, the equations are (the solution space is) invariant under diffeomorphisms permuting spacetime points. Similarly, in QM the equations are invariant under particle permutations. Stachel argued that this feature—a theory's ‘not caring which point, or particle, is which’—supported a structuralist ontology. Pooley criticizes this analogy: (...)
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  • Geometry, Fields, and Spacetime.James Binkoski - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy002.
    I present an argument against a relational theory of spacetime that regards spacetime as a ‘structural quality of the field’. The argument takes the form of a trilemma. To make the argument, I focus on relativistic worlds in which there exist just two fields, an electromagnetic field and a gravitational field. Then there are three options: either spacetime is a structural quality of each field separately, both fields together, or one field but not the other. I argue that the first (...)
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  • 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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  • Time and Determinism.Thomas Müller - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (6):729-740.
    This paper gives an overview of logico-philosophical issues of time and determinism. After a brief review of historical roots and 20th century developments, three current research areas are discussed: the definition of determinism, space-time indeterminism, and the temporality of individual things and their possibilities.
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  • 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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  • On Representational Capacities, with an Application to General Relativity.Samuel C. Fletcher - forthcoming - Foundations of Physics:1-22.
    Recent work on the hole argument in general relativity by Weatherall has drawn attention to the neglected concept of models’ representational capacities. I argue for several theses about the structure of these capacities, including that they should be understood not as many-to-one relations from models to the world, but in general as many-to-many relations constrained by the models’ isomorphisms. I then compare these ideas with a recent argument by Belot for the claim that some isometries “generate new possibilities” in general (...)
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  • Against Field Interpretations of Quantum Field Theory.David Baker - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):585-609.
    I examine some problems standing in the way of a successful `field interpretation' of quantum field theory. The most popular extant proposal depends on the Hilbert space of `wavefunctionals.' But since wavefunctional space is unitarily equivalent to many-particle Fock space, two of the most powerful arguments against particle interpretations also undermine this form of field interpretation. IntroductionField Interpretations and Field OperatorsThe Wavefunctional InterpretationFields and Inequivalent Representations 4.1. The Rindler representation 4.2. Spontaneous symmetry breaking 4.3. Coherent representations The Fate of Fields (...)
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  • Is Empty Spacetime a Physical Thing?Diego Meschini & Markku Lehto - 2006 - Foundations of Physics 36 (8):1193-1216.
    This article deals with empty spacetime and the question of its physical reality. By “empty spacetime” we mean a collection of bare spacetime points, the remains of ridding spacetime of all matter and fields. We ask whether these geometric objects—themselves intrinsic to the concept of field—might be observable through some physical test. By taking quantum-mechanical notions into account, we challenge the negative conclusion drawn from the diffeomorphism invariance postulate of general relativity, and we propose new foundational ideas regarding the possible (...)
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  • Substance, Modality and Spacetime.Richard Healey - 1995 - Erkenntnis 42 (3):287 - 316.
  • How to Be a Substantivalist Without Getting Shifty About It.Zee R. Perry - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):223-249.
    According to substantivalism, spacetime points and regions are real entities whose existence is not dependent on matter. In this paper, I motivate and defend a version of substantivalism which takes the totality of spacetime as fundamental, and show how this position avoids certain problem cases, in particular the objection from static Leibniz shifts, and better conforms to how we think about space in physics. I argue that, even though the static Leibniz shifts do not show ordinary substantivalism is committed to (...)
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  • Rehabilitating Relationalism.Gordon Belot - 1999 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (1):35 – 52.
    I argue that the conviction, widespread among philosophers, that substantivalism enjoys a clear superiority over relationalism in both Newtonian and relativistic physics is ill-founded. There are viable relationalist approaches to understanding these theories, and the substantival-relational debate should be of interest to philosophers and physicists alike, because of its connection with questions about the correct space of states for various physical theories.
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  • Confessions of a Sophisticated Substantivalist.Carolyn Brighouse - forthcoming - Foundations of Physics:1-12.
    I illustrate a challenge to a view that is a response to the Hole Argument. The view, sophisticated substantivalism, has been claimed to be the received view. While sophisticated substantivalism has many defenders, there is a fundamental tension in the view that has not received the attention it deserves. Anyone who defends or endorses sophisticated substantivalism, should acknowledge this challenge, and should either show why it is not serious or explain how to respond to it.
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  • Determinism and Ontology.Gordon Belot - 1995 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9 (1):85 – 101.
    Abstract In the philosophical literature, there are two common criteria for a physical theory to be deterministic. The older one is due to the logical empiricists, and is a purely formal criterion. The newer one can be found in the work of John Earman and David Lewis and depends on the intended interpretation of the theory. In this paper I argue that the former must be rejected, and something like the latter adopted. I then discuss the relevance of these points (...)
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  • 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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  • Grades of Individuality. A Pluralistic View of Identity in Quantum Mechanics and in the Sciences.Mauro Dorato & Matteo Morganti - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):591-610.
    This paper offers a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the identity and individuality of material objects. Its main aim, in particular, is to show that, in a sense to be carefully specified, the opposition between the Leibnizian ‘reductionist’ tradition, based on discernibility, and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated. In particular, it is argued that—contrary to a widespread consensus—‘naturalised’ metaphysics supports both the acceptability (...)
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  • The Role of Symmetry in the Interpretation of Physical Theories.Adam Caulton - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):153-162.
    The symmetries of a physical theory are often associated with two things: conservation laws and representational redundancies. But how can a physical theory's symmetries give rise to interesting conservation laws, if symmetries are transformations that correspond to no genuine physical difference? In this article, I argue for a disambiguation in the notion of symmetry. The central distinction is between what I call "analytic" and "synthetic" symmetries, so called because of an analogy with analytic and synthetic propositions. "Analytic" symmetries are the (...)
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  • Regarding the ‘Hole Argument’.James Owen Weatherall - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw012.
    I argue that the Hole Argument is based on a misleading use of the mathematical formalism of general relativity. If one is attentive to mathematical practice, I will argue, the Hole Argument is blocked.
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  • On the Existence of Spacetime Structure.Erik Curiel - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw014.
    I examine the debate between substantivalists and relationalists about the ontological character of spacetime and conclude it is not well posed. I argue that the hole argument does not bear on the debate, because it provides no clear criterion to distinguish the positions. I propose two such precise criteria and construct separate arguments based on each to yield contrary conclusions, one supportive of something like relationalism and the other of something like substantivalism. The lesson is that one must fix an (...)
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  • No Two Entities Without Identity.Benjamin C. Jantzen - 2011 - Synthese 181 (3):433-450.
    In a naïve realist approach to reading an ontology off the models of a physical theory, the invariance of a given theory under permutations of its property-bearing objects entails the existence of distinct possible worlds from amongst which the theory cannot choose. A brand of Ontic Structural Realism attempts to avoid this consequence by denying that objects possess primitive identity, and thus worlds with property values permuted amongst those objects are really one and the same world. Assuming that any successful (...)
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  • Actuality for Counterpart Theorists.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2013 - Mind 122 (485):85-134.
    The counterpart theorist has a problem: there is no obvious way to understand talk about actuality in terms of counterparts. Fara and Williamson have charged that this obstacle cannot be overcome. Here I defend the counterpart theorist by offering systematic interpretations of a quantified modal language that includes an actuality operator. Centrally, I disentangle the counterpart relation from a related notion, a ‘representation relation’. The relation of possible things to the actual things they represent is variable, and an adequate account (...)
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  • Possible Worlds and the Objective World.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (2):389-422.
    David Lewis holds that a single possible world can provide more than one way things could be. But what are possible worlds good for if they come apart from ways things could be? We can make sense of this if we go in for a metaphysical understanding of what the world is. The world does not include everything that is the case—only the genuine facts. Understood this way, Lewis's “cheap haecceitism” amounts to a kind of metaphysical anti-haecceitism: it says there (...)
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