Relationalism rehabilitated? I: Classical mechanics

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (2):183--204 (2002)
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The implications for the substantivalist–relationalist controversy of Barbour and Bertotti's successful implementation of a Machian approach to dynamics are investigated. It is argued that in the context of Newtonian mechanics, the Machian framework provides a genuinely relational interpretation of dynamics and that it is more explanatory than the conventional, substantival interpretation. In a companion paper (Pooley [2002a]), the viability of the Machian framework as an interpretation of relativistic physics is explored. 1 Introduction 2 Newton versus Leibniz 3 Absolute space versus an affine connection 4 Anti-relationalist arguments 5 Rehabilitating relationalism 6 Dynamics on the relative configuration space 7 Intrinsic particle dynamics 8 Conclusion.



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Author Profiles

Oliver Pooley
University of Oxford
Harvey Brown
Oxford University

Citations of this work

Minkowski space-time: A glorious non-entity.Harvey R. Brown & Oliver Pooley - 2006 - In Dennis Geert Bernardus Johan Dieks (ed.), The ontology of spacetime. Boston: Elsevier. pp. 67--89.
Theoretical Equivalence as Interpretative Equivalence.Kevin Coffey - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):821-844.
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