Authors
James Binkoski
Dartmouth College
Abstract
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 option founders on a problem of geometric coordination and that the second and third options collapse into substantivalism. In particular, on the third option it becomes clear that the relationalist’s path to Leibniz equivalence is no simpler or more straightforward than the substantivalist’s. 1Introduction 2Background 2.1Relational theories of spacetime 2.2Brief remarks on general relativity 3First Horn: Geometric Coordination 4Second Horn: Problems of Coincidence 5Third Horn: General Relativity and Gauge 5.1Preventing collapse 5.2The revised shift argument 6Conclusion
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axy002
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