How to Be a Substantivalist Without Getting Shifty About It

Philosophical Issues 27 (1):223-249 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX


According to substantivalism, spacetime points and regions are real entities whose existence is not dependent on matter. In this paper, I motivate and defend a version of substantivalism which takes the totality of spacetime as fundamental, and show how this position avoids certain problem cases, in particular the objection from static Leibniz shifts, and better conforms to how we think about space in physics. I argue that, even though the static Leibniz shifts do not show ordinary substantivalism is committed to in-principle undetectable physical structure ), they do indicate something problematic about the modal profile of space-time and its constituents. While the problem is modal, the solution cannot be solely a matter of revising the substantivalist's modal claims. Rather, I argue, the substantivalist must revise her background ontology of space-time. I show how this can be done by developing substantivalist theory that rejects this picture in favor of an alternative ontology of space-time in the spirit of priority monism.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,323

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Spacetime and Holes.Carolyn Brighouse - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:117 - 125.
Identity, Modality, and Space-Time.Ellis Joseph Crasnow - 1983 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
Newton’s Neo-Platonic Ontology of Space.Edward Slowik - 2013 - Foundations of Science 18 (3):419-448.
Determinism and modality.Carolyn Brighouse - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (4):465-481.
Holes, haecceitism and two conceptions of determinism.Joseph Melia - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (4):639--64.
The Direction of Time.Richard Martin Adler - 1981 - Dissertation, University of Minnesota
The Case for Substantivalism.Carolyn Jane Brighouse - 1996 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
Why the parts of absolute space are immobile.Nick Huggett - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):391-407.


Added to PP

103 (#170,888)

6 months
18 (#144,858)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Zee R. Perry
New York University, Shanghai

Citations of this work

The World Just Is the Way It Is.David Builes - 2021 - The Monist 104 (1):1-27.
Modal Idealism.David Builes - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
Spacetime the one substance.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (1):131 - 148.
What price spacetime substantivalism? The hole story.John Earman & John Norton - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (4):515-525.

View all 25 references / Add more references