What price determinism? The hole story!


Authors
Dean Rickles
University of Sydney
Abstract
In their modern classic ``What Price Substantivalism? The Hole Story'' Earman and Norton argued that substantivalism about spacetime points implies that general relativity is indeterministic and, for that reason, must be rejected as a candidate ontology for the theory. More recently, Earman has cottoned on to a related argument (in fact, related to a \emph{response} to the hole argument) that arises in the context of canonical general relativity, according to which the enforcing of determinism along standard lines---using the machinery of gauge theory---leads to a `frozen universe' picture (grounded in an absence of changes in values of general relativity's observables). \emph{Prima facie} this would seem to land the anti-substantivalist in waters at least as deep as those that Earman and Norton argued troubled substantivalism. In this paper I introduce the argument in what I think are clearer terms than Earman's, and assess his treatment of the problem. For the most part I agree with Earman about the nature of the problem, but I find aspects of his discussion wanting, especially as regards his proposed ontology. I argue that ontological sense can be made of the changelessness if a structuralist stance is adopted with respect to a natural class of observables.
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