Authors
Craig Callender
University of California, San Diego
Abstract
From Kant’s first published work to recent articles in the physics literature, philosophers and physicists have long sought an answer to the question, why does space have three dimensions. In this paper, I will flesh out Kant’s claim with a brief detour through Gauss’ law. I then describe Büchel’s version of the common argument that stable orbits are possible only if space is three-dimensional. After examining objections by Russell and van Fraassen, I develop three original criticisms of my own. These criticisms are relevant to both historical and contemporary proofs of the dimensionality of space (in particular, a recent one by Burgbacher, F. Lämmerzahl, C., and Macias). In general I argue that modern “proofs” of the dimensionality of space have gone off track.
Keywords Explanation   Spacetime   Philosophy of Science   Physics   Kant
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2004.09.002
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References found in this work BETA

Humean Supervenience Debugged.David Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.
Natural Theology.William Paley - 2007 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.
Measures, Explanations and the Past: Should ‘Special’ Initial Conditions Be Explained?Craig Callender - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2):195-217.
On the Foundations of Geometry.Henri Poincaré - 1898 - The Monist 9 (1):1-43.
Right, Left, and the Fourth Dimension.James van Cleve - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (1):33-68.

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Citations of this work BETA

Would Two Dimensions Be World Enough for Spacetime?Samuel C. Fletcher, J. B. Manchak, Mike D. Schneider & James Owen Weatherall - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 63:100-113.
Newtonian Fractional-Dimension Gravity and MOND.Gabriele U. Varieschi - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (11):1608-1644.

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