Moderate structural realism about space-time

Synthese 160 (1):27 - 46 (2008)
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Abstract

This paper sets out a moderate version of metaphysical structural realism that stands in contrast to both the epistemic structural realism of Worrall and the—radical—ontic structural realism of French and Ladyman. According to moderate structural realism, objects and relations (structure) are on the same ontological footing, with the objects being characterized only by the relations in which they stand. We show how this position fares well as regards philosophical arguments, avoiding the objections against the other two versions of structural realism. In particular, we set out how this position can be applied to space-time, providing for a convincing understanding of space-time points in the standard tensor formulation of general relativity as well as in the fibre bundle formulation

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