Building the world from its fundamental constituents

Philosophical Studies 158 (2):221-256 (2012)
In this paper, I argue that the spatiotemporalist approach way of modeling the fundamental constituents, structure, and composition of the world has taken a wrong turn. Spatiotemporalist approaches to fundamental structure take the fundamental nature of the world to be spatiotemporal: they take the category of spatiotemporal to be fundamental. I argue that the debates over the nature of the fundamental space in the physics show us that (i) the fact that it is conceivable that the manifest world could be exactly as it appears to us, even though spatiotemporal entities are not fundamental, means that a central premise of spatiotemporalism, that we may assume, given ordinary experience, that the world is fundamentally spatiotemporal, is false. (ii) Spatiotemporalism must be seen as a contingent, a posteriori physical truth. Finally, (iii) I argue that a metaphysically deeper conclusion follows from the debate over the nature of the fundamental space. The debate in physics over which sort of space is the fundamental space suggests that physicists have discovered that, even if a spacetime is an actual constituent of the world-space category, there is a world-space category that is more fundamental than the category of spacetime.
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9885-8
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References found in this work BETA
Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Philosophical Papers Vol. II.Lewis David - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Parts: A Study in Ontology.Peter Simons - 1987 - Oxford University Press.
Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.

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Citations of this work BETA
No Physical Particles for a Dispositional Monist?Baptiste Le Bihan - 2015 - Philosophical Papers 44 (2):207-232.
The Action of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):67-87.
Emergence for Nihilists.Richard L. J. Caves - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly:n/a-n/a.
The Location of Properties.Nikk Effingham - 2015 - Noûs 49 (4):846-866.

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