The curious case of spacetime emergence

Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2207-2226 (2019)
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Work in quantum gravity suggests that spacetime is not fundamental. Rather, spacetime emerges from an underlying, non-spatiotemporal reality. After clarifying the type of emergence at issue, I argue that standard conceptions of emergence available in metaphysics won’t work for the emergence of spacetime. I go on to consider spacetime functionalism as a way to make sense of spacetime emergence. I argue that a functionalist approach to spacetime modelled on mental state functionalism is not a viable alternative to the standard conception of emergence in metaphysics. I go on to consider an alternative: ‘partial’ functionalism, whereby certain aspects of spacetime are functionalised, rather than spacetime as a whole.



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Sam Baron
University of Melbourne

Citations of this work

Location and Mereology.Cody Gilmore, Claudio Calosi & Damiano Costa - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Composing Spacetime.Sam Baron & Baptiste Le Bihan - 2022 - Journal of Philosophy 119 (1):33-54.
String Theory, Loop Quantum Gravity and Eternalism.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10:17.
Quantum Gravity and Mereology: Not So Simple.Sam Baron & Baptiste Le Bihan - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):19-40.
Perceptual illusionism.Brian Cutter - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (4):396-417.

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References found in this work

The Indispensability of Mathematics.Mark Colyvan - 2001 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Quantum Gravity.Carlo Rovelli - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
Parthood.Theodore Sider - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (1):51-91.
Making sense of emergence.Jaegwon Kim - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):3-36.

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