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  1. How to Be a Spacetime Substantivalist.Trevor Teitel - 2022 - Journal of Philosophy 119 (5):233-278.
    The consensus among spacetime substantivalists is to respond to Leibniz's classic shift arguments, and their contemporary incarnation in the form of the hole argument, by pruning the allegedly problematic metaphysical possibilities that generate these arguments. Some substantivalists do so by directly appealing to a modal doctrine akin to anti-haecceitism. Other substantivalists do so by appealing to an underlying hyperintensional doctrine that implies some such modal doctrine. My first aim in this paper is to pose a challenge for all extant forms (...)
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  • Modern essentialism and the problem of individuation of spacetime points.Andreas Bartels - 1996 - Erkenntnis 45 (1):25--43.
    In this paper Modern Essentialism is used to solve a problem of individuation of spacetime points in General Relativity that has been raised by a New Leibnizian Argument against spacetime substantivalism, elaborated by Earman and Norton. An earlier essentialistic solution, proposed by Maudlin, is criticized as being against both the spirit of metrical essentialism and the fundamental principles of General Relativity. I argue for a modified essentialistic account of spacetime points that avoids those obstacles.
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  • 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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  • The general-relativistic case for super-substantivalism.Claudio Calosi & Patrick M. Duerr - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13789-13822.
    Super-substantivalism roughly comprises two core tenets: the physical properties which we attribute to matter can be attributed to spacetime directly, with no need for matter as an extraneous carrier “on top of” spacetime; spacetime is more fundamental than matter. In the present paper, we revisit a recent argument in favour of super-substantivalism, based on General Relativity. A critique is offered that highlights the difference between fundamentality and ontological dependence. This affords a metaphysically more perspicuous view of what super-substantivalism’s tenets actually (...)
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  • How to Be a Pluralist in Substance Ontology.Travis Dumsday - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (4):995-1022.
    The four principal competing substance ontologies are substratum theory, bundle theory, primitive substance theory, and hylomorphism. Both historically and in the recent literature, most arguments pertaining to these four theories have been developed under the assumption that only one of them can be true. However there is room in this debate for various forms of pluralism: mild pluralism here refers to the view that while only one of these four theories is true of our world, there is at least one (...)
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  • Roads to the past: how to go and not to go backward in time in quantum theories.Cristian López - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (2):27.
    In this article I shall defend, against the conventional understanding of the matter, that two coherent and tenable approaches to time reversal can be suitably introduced in standard quantum mechanics: an “orthodox” approach that demands time reversal to be represented in terms of an anti-unitary and anti-linear time-reversal operator, and a “heterodox” approach that represents time reversal in terms of a unitary, linear time-reversal operator. The rationale shall be that the orthodox approach in quantum theories assumes a relationalist metaphysics of (...)
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  • Roads to the past: how to go and not to go backward in time in quantum theories.Cristian López - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (2):27.
    In this article I shall defend, against the conventional understanding of the matter, that two coherent and tenable approaches to time reversal can be suitably introduced in standard quantum mechanics: an “orthodox” approach that demands time reversal to be represented in terms of an anti-unitary and anti-linear time-reversal operator, and a “heterodox” approach that represents time reversal in terms of a unitary, linear time-reversal operator. The rationale shall be that the orthodox approach in quantum theories assumes a relationalist metaphysics of (...)
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  • Newton’s Bucket Experiment from Kantian Perspective.Yaohua Zhu - 2018 - Open Journal of Philosophy 8 (5):437-443.
    Newton’s absolute pace-time view is the basis of his classical mechanics, and his description of relative motion is based on absolute space. However, the existence of this absolute space has been questioned by the academic circles. In order to defend its theoretical foundation, Newton established a famous bucket experiment to prove the existence of absolute space. But his experiment was also questioned, and the experiment is also divided into different opinions. This paper hopes to find the answer to the question (...)
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  • A Constructivist View of Newton’s Mechanics.H. G. Solari & M. A. Natiello - 2019 - Foundations of Science 24 (2):307-341.
    In the present essay we attempt to reconstruct Newtonian mechanics under the guidance of logical principles and of a constructive approach related to the genetic epistemology of Piaget and García (Psychogenesis and the history of science, Columbia University Press, New York, 1989). Instead of addressing Newton’s equations as a set of axioms, ultimately given by the revelation of a prodigious mind, we search for the fundamental knowledge, beliefs and provisional assumptions that can produce classical mechanics. We start by developing our (...)
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  • Theory (In-)Equivalence and conventionalism in f(R) gravity.Patrick M. Duerr - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 88 (C):10-29.
  • 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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  • Regarding the ‘Hole Argument’.James Owen Weatherall - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):329-350.
    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. _1._ Introduction _2._ A Warmup Exercise _3._ The Hole Argument _4._ An Argument from Classical Spacetime Theory _5._ The Hole Argument Revisited.
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  • Relationalism about mechanics based on a minimalist ontology of matter.Antonio Vassallo, Dirk-André Deckert & Michael Esfeld - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-20.
    This paper elaborates on relationalism about space and time as motivated by a minimalist ontology of the physical world: there are only matter points that are individuated by the distance relations among them, with these relations changing. We assess two strategies to combine this ontology with physics, using classical mechanics as example: the Humean strategy adopts the standard, non-relationalist physical theories as they stand and interprets their formal apparatus as the means of bookkeeping of the change of the distance relations (...)
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  • The Beginning of the Universe and of Time.Richard Swinburne - 1996 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):169 - 189.
    Given four modest verificationist theses, tying the meaning of talk about instants and periods to the events which (physically) could occur during, before or after them, the only content to the claim the Universe had a beginning (applicable equally to chaotic or orderly universes) is in terms of it being preceded by empty time. It follows that time cannot have a beginning. The Universe, however, could have a beginning--even if it has lasted for an infinite time.
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  • The Dynamical Approach as Practical Geometry.Syman Stevens - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1152-1162.
    This article introduces Harvey Brown and Oliver Pooley’s ‘dynamical approach’ to special relativity, and argues that it may be construed as a relationalist form of Einstein’s ‘practical geometry’. This construal of the dynamical approach is shown to be compatible with related chapters of Brown’s text and also with recent descriptions of the dynamical approach by Pooley and others.
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  • Regularity Relationalism and the Constructivist Project.Syman Stevens - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx037.
    ABSTRACT It has recently been argued that Harvey Brown and Oliver Pooley’s ‘dynamical approach’ to special relativity should be understood as what might be called an ontologically and ideologically relationalist approach to Minkowski geometry, according to which Minkowski geometrical structure supervenes upon the symmetries of the best-systems dynamical laws for a material world with primitive topological or differentiable structure. Fleshing out the details of some such primitive structure, and a conception of laws according to which Minkowski geometry could so supervene, (...)
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  • A Constructivist View of Newton’s Mechanics.H. G. Solari & M. A. Natiello - 2018 - Foundations of Science 24 (2):1-35.
    In the present essay we attempt to reconstruct Newtonian mechanics under the guidance of logical principles and of a constructive approach related to the genetic epistemology of Piaget and García. Instead of addressing Newton’s equations as a set of axioms, ultimately given by the revelation of a prodigious mind, we search for the fundamental knowledge, beliefs and provisional assumptions that can produce classical mechanics. We start by developing our main tool: the no arbitrariness principle, that we present in a form (...)
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  • Spacetime, Ontology, and Structural Realism.Edward Slowik - 2005 - 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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  • Impure concepts and non-qualitative properties.Byron Simmons - 2020 - Synthese 197 (7):3065-3086.
    Some properties such as having a beard and being a philosopher are intuitively qualitative, while other properties such as being identical to Plato and being a student of Socrates are intuitively non-qualitative. It is often assumed that, necessarily, a property is qualitative if and only if it can be designated descriptively without the aid of directly referential devices. I argue that this linguistic thesis fails in both directions: there might be non-qualitative properties that can be designated descriptively, and there appear (...)
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  • "Bare particulars".Theodore Sider - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):387–397.
    One often hears a complaint about “bare particulars”. This complaint has bugged me for years. I know it bugs others too, but no one seems to have vented in print, so that is what I propose to do. (I hope also to say a few constructive things along the way.) The complaint is aimed at the substratum theory, which says that particulars are, in a certain sense, separate from their universals. If universals and particulars are separate, connected to each other (...)
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  • Spacetime the one substance.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (1):131 - 148.
    What is the relation between material objects and spacetime regions? Supposing that spacetime regions are one sort of substance, there remains the question of whether or not material objects are a second sort of substance. This is the question of dualistic versus monistic substantivalism. I will defend the monistic view. In particular, I will maintain that material objects should be identified with spacetime regions. There is the spacetime manifold, and the fundamental properties are pinned directly to it.
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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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  • Indefinite Divisibility.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (3):239-263.
    Some hold that the lesson of Russell’s paradox and its relatives is that mathematical reality does not form a ‘definite totality’ but rather is ‘indefinitely extensible’. There can always be more sets than there ever are. I argue that certain contact puzzles are analogous to Russell’s paradox this way: they similarly motivate a vision of physical reality as iteratively generated. In this picture, the divisions of the continuum into smaller parts are ‘potential’ rather than ‘actual’. Besides the intrinsic interest of (...)
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  • A puzzle about laws, symmetries and measurability.John T. Roberts - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (2):143-168.
    I describe a problem about the relations among symmetries, laws and measurable quantities. I explain why several ways of trying to solve it will not work, and I sketch a solution that might work. I discuss this problem in the context of Newtonian theories, but it also arises for many other physical theories. The problem is that there are two ways of defining the space-time symmetries of a physical theory: as its dynamical symmetries or as its empirical symmetries. The two (...)
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  • Time travel, hyperspace and Cheshire Cats.Alasdair Richmond - 2018 - Synthese 195 (11):5037-5058.
    H. G. Wells’ Time Traveller inhabits uniform Newtonian time. Where relativistic/quantum travelers into the past follow spacetime curvatures, past-bound Wellsians must reverse their direction of travel relative to absolute time. William Grey and Robin Le Poidevin claim reversing Wellsians must overlap with themselves or fade away piecemeal like the Cheshire Cat. Self-overlap is physically impossible but ‘Cheshire Cat’ fades destroy Wellsians’ causal continuity and breed bizarre fusions of traveler-stages with opposed time-directions. However, Wellsians who rotate in higher-dimensional space can reverse (...)
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  • Motivating dualities.James Read & Thomas Møller-Nielsen - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):263-291.
    There exists a common view that for theories related by a ‘duality’, dual models typically may be taken ab initio to represent the same physical state of affairs, i.e. to correspond to the same possible world. We question this view, by drawing a parallel with the distinction between ‘interpretational’ and ‘motivational’ approaches to symmetries.
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  • Getting tense about relativity.James Read & Emily Qureshi-Hurst - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8103-8125.
    Special relativity has been understood by many as vindicating a tenseless conception of time, denying the existence of tensed facts and a fortiori objective temporal passage. The reason for this is straightforward: both passage and the obtaining of tensed facts require a universal knife-edge present moment—yet this structure is not easily reconcilable with the relativity of simultaneity. The above being said, the prospects for tense and passage are sometimes claimed to be improved on moving to cosmological solutions of general relativity. (...)
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  • Relationalism rehabilitated? I: Classical mechanics.Oliver Pooley & Harvey R. Brown - 2002 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (2):183--204.
    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 (...)
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  • Invariance, Interpretation, and Motivation.Thomas Møller-Nielsen - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1253-1264.
    In this article I assess the Invariance Principle, which states that only quantities that are invariant under the symmetries of our theories are physically real. I argue, contrary to current orthodoxy, that the variance of a quantity under a theory’s symmetries is not a sufficient basis for interpreting that theory as being uncommitted to the reality of that quantity. Rather, I argue, the variance of a quantity under symmetries only ever serves as a motivation to refrain from any commitment to (...)
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  • Following logical realism where it leads.Michaela McSweeney - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):117-139.
    Logical realism is the view that there is logical structure in the world. I argue that, if logical realism is true, then we are deeply ignorant of that logical structure: either we can’t know which of our logical concepts accurately capture it, or none of our logical concepts accurately capture it at all. I don’t suggest abandoning logical realism, but instead discuss how realists should adjust their methodology in the face of this ignorance.
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  • The metaphysics of emergent spacetime theories.Niels C. M. Martens - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (7).
    The debate concerning the ontological status of spacetime is standardly construed as a dilemma between substantivalism and relationalism. I argue that a trilemma is more appropriate, emergent spacetime theories being the third category. Traditional philosophical arguments do not distinguish between emergent spacetime and substantivalism. It is arguments from physics that suggest giving up substantivalism in favour of emergent spacetime theories. The remaining new dilemma is between emergent spacetime and relationalism. I provide a list of questions, which one should consider when (...)
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  • The (un)detectability of absolute Newtonian masses.Niels C. M. Martens - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2511-2550.
    Absolutism about mass claims that mass ratios obtain in virtue of absolute masses. Comparativism denies this. Dasgupta, Oxford studies in metaphysics, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013) argues for comparativism about mass, in the context of Newtonian Gravity. Such an argument requires proving that comparativism is empirically adequate. Dasgupta equates this to showing that absolute masses are undetectable, and attempts to do so. This paper develops an argument by Baker to the contrary: absolute masses are in fact empirically meaningful, that is (...)
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  • Dark matter = modified gravity? Scrutinising the spacetime–matter distinction through the modified gravity/ dark matter lens.Niels C. M. Martens & Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:237-250.
    This paper scrutinises the tenability of a strict conceptual distinction between space and matter via the lens of the debate between modified gravity and dark matter. In particular, we consider Berezhiani and Khoury's novel 'superfluid dark matter theory' as a case study. Two families of criteria for being matter and being spacetime, respectively, are extracted from the literature. Evaluation of the new scalar field postulated by SFDM according to these criteria reveals that it is as much matter as anything could (...)
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  • Problem samodzielności stanowiska strukturalizmu czasoprzestrzennego.Damian Luty - 2016 - Semina Scientiarum 15:172-187.
    The aim of this paper is to place the considerations provided by a philosophical family of positions called “spacetime structuralism” in the context of the debate between classical views: substantivalism and relationism in the philosophy of spacetime. Altough this task was somehow tackled in the past by other researchers, they never stated most generally, what exactly the problem with spacetime structuralism as a standpoint was. I view that problem as the problem of its autonomy and potential reducibility to both of (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Super‐Substantivalism.Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2018 - Noûs 52 (1):24-46.
    Recent decades have seen a revived interest in super-substantivalism, the idea that spacetime is the only fundamental substance and matter some kind of aspect, property or consequence of spacetime structure. However, the metaphysical debate so far has misidentified a particular variant of super-substantivalism with the position per se. I distinguish between a super-substantival core commitment and different ways of fleshing it out. I then investigate how general relativity and alternative spacetime theories square with the different variants of super-substantivalism.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Holism as the empirical significance of symmetries.Henrique Gomes - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-41.
    Not all symmetries are on a par. For instance, within Newtonian mechanics, we seem to have a good grasp on the empirical significance of boosts, by applying it to subsystems. This is exemplified by the thought experiment known as Galileo’s ship: the inertial state of motion of a ship is immaterial to how events unfold in the cabin, but is registered in the values of relational quantities such as the distance and velocity of the ship relative to the shore. But (...)
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  • Alexander of Hales on Panentheism.Travis Dumsday - 2019 - Sophia 58 (4):597-612.
    Panentheism is among the most influential variations on classical theism found within nineteenth and twentieth century theology, a prominent perspective in the recent religion and science dialogue, and is increasing in prominence within analytic philosophy of religion. Existing works on the history of panentheism understandably focus primarily on proponents of the view and their arguments in its favor. Less attention has been given to the history of arguments against it, and in particular little has been written on mediaeval Scholastic critiques. (...)
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  • Spacetime theory as physical geometry.Robert Disalle - 1995 - Erkenntnis 42 (3):317-337.
    Discussions of the metaphysical status of spacetime assume that a spacetime theory offers a causal explanation of phenomena of relative motion, and that the fundamental philosophical question is whether the inference to that explanation is warranted. I argue that those assumptions are mistaken, because they ignore the essential character of spacetime theory as a kind of physical geometry. As such, a spacetime theory does notcausally explain phenomena of motion, but uses them to construct physicaldefinitions of basic geometrical structures by coordinating (...)
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  • Space-time relationism in Newtonian and relativistic physics.Dennis Dieks - 2000 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (1):5 – 17.
    I argue that there is natural relationist interpretation of Newtonian and relativistic non-quantum physics. Although relationist, this interpretation does not fall prey to the traditional objections based on the existence of inertial effects.
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  • The epistemology of spacetime.Neil Dewar, Niels Linnemann & James Read - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (4).
    Philosophy Compass, Volume 17, Issue 4, April 2022.
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  • Symmetries and the philosophy of language.Neil Dewar - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):317-327.
    In this paper, I consider the role of exact symmetries in theories of physics, working throughout with the example of gravitation set in Newtonian spacetime. First, I spend some time setting up a means of thinking about symmetries in this context; second, I consider arguments from the seeming undetectability of absolute velocities to an anti-realism about velocities; and finally, I claim that the structure of the theory licences us to interpret models which differ only with regards to the absolute velocities (...)
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  • Physical Magnitudes.Marco Dees - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):817-841.
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  • The bare necessities.Shamik Dasgupta - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):115-160.
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  • Substantivalism vs Relationalism About Space in Classical Physics.Shamik Dasgupta - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (9):601-624.
    Substantivalism is the view that space exists in addition to any material bodies situated within it. Relationalism is the opposing view that there is no such thing as space; there are just material bodies, spatially related to one another. This paper assesses this issue in the context of classical physics. It starts by describing the bucket argument for substantivalism. It then turns to anti-substantivalist arguments, including Leibniz's classic arguments and their contemporary reincarnation under the guise of ‘symmetry’. It argues that (...)
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  • Individuals: an essay in revisionary metaphysics.Shamik Dasgupta - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (1):35-67.
    We naturally think of the material world as being populated by a large number of individuals . These are things, such as my laptop and the particles that compose it, that we describe as being propertied and related in various ways when we describe the material world around us. In this paper I argue that, fundamentally speaking at least, there are no such things as material individuals. I then propose and defend an individual-less view of the material world I call (...)
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  • Inexpressible Ignorance.Shamik Dasgupta - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (4):441-480.
    Sometimes, ignorance is inexpressible. Lewis recognized this when he argued, in “Ramseyan Humility,” that we cannot know which property occupies which causal role. This peculiar state of ignorance arises in a number of other domains too, including ignorance about our position in space and the identities of individuals. In these cases, one does not know something, and yet one cannot give voice to one's ignorance in a certain way. But what does the ignorance in these cases consist in? This essay (...)
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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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