Dark matter = modified gravity? Scrutinising the spacetime–matter distinction through the modified gravity/ dark matter lens

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:237-250 (2020)
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Abstract

This paper scrutinises the tenability of a strict conceptual distinction between space and matter via the lens of the debate between modified gravity and dark matter. In particular, we consider Berezhiani and Khoury's novel 'superfluid dark matter theory' as a case study. Two families of criteria for being matter and being spacetime, respectively, are extracted from the literature. Evaluation of the new scalar field postulated by SFDM according to these criteria reveals that it is as much matter as anything could possibly be, but alsoꟷbelow the critical temperature for superfluidityꟷas much spacetime as anything could possibly be. A sequel paper examines possible interpretations of SFDM in light of this result, as well as the consequences for our understanding of the modified gravity/ dark matter distinction and the broader spacetime–matter distinction.

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Author Profiles

Niels C. M. Martens
University of Bonn
Dennis Lehmkuhl
Universität Bonn

Citations of this work

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Cartography of the space of theories: An interpretational chart for fields that are both (dark) matter and spacetime.Niels C. M. Martens & Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:217-236.

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References found in this work

What price spacetime substantivalism? The hole story.John Earman & John Norton - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (4):515-525.
Newtonian Spacetime Structure in Light of the Equivalence Principle.Eleanor Knox - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):863-880.
The metaphysics of space‐time substantivalism.Carl Hoefer - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (1):5-27.

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