Authors
Erik Curiel
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Abstract
The question of the existence of gravitational stress-energy in general relativity has exercised investigators in the field since the inception of the theory. Folklore has it that no adequate definition of a localized gravitational stress-energetic quantity can be given. Most arguments to that effect invoke one version or another of the Principle of Equivalence. I argue that not only are such arguments of necessity vague and hand-waving but, worse, are beside the point and do not address the heart of the issue. Based on a novel analysis of what it may mean for one tensor to depend in the proper way on another, which, en passant, provides a precise characterization of the idea of a "geometric object", I prove that, under certain natural conditions, there can be no tensor whose interpretation could be that it represents gravitational stress-energy in general relativity. It follows that gravitational energy, such as it is in general relativity, is necessarily non-local. Along the way, I prove a result of some interest in own right about the structure of the associated jet bundles of the bundle of Lorentz metrics over spacetime. I conclude by showing that my results also imply that, under a few natural conditions, the Einstein field equation is the unique equation relating gravitational phenomena to spatiotemporal structure, and discuss how this relates to the non-localizability of gravitational stress-energy.
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Reprint years 2019
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2018.08.003
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References found in this work BETA

Space-Time Structure.Erwin Schrödinger - 1950 - Cambridge University Press.
Space-Time-Matter.Hermann Weyl - 1922 - E.P. Dutton and Company.

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Citations of this work BETA

Two Miracles of General Relativity.James Read, Harvey R. Brown & Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:14-25.
A Primer on Energy Conditions.Erik Curiel - 2017 - In Dennis Lehmkuhl, Gregor Schiemann & Erhard Scholz (eds.), Towards a Theory of Spacetime Theories. Birkhäuser. pp. 43-104.
On the Existence of Spacetime Structure.Erik Curiel - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw014.
General-Relativistic Covariance.Neil Dewar - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (4):294-318.

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