Substantivalism vs Relationalism About Space in Classical Physics

Philosophy Compass 10 (9):601-624 (2015)
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Abstract

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 these anti-substantivalist arguments are stronger than is often acknowledged

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Shamik Dasgupta
University of California, Berkeley

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References found in this work

Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time.Tim Maudlin - 2012 - Princeton University Press.
What Price Spacetime Substantivalism? The Hole Story.John Earman & John Norton - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (4):515-525.
Space, Time, and Spacetime.Lawrence Sklar - 1974 - University of California Press.
Knowing the Answer.Jonathan Schaffer - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):383-403.
Individuals: An Essay in Revisionary Metaphysics.Shamik Dasgupta - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (1):35-67.

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