A Historical Defence of Non-Spacetime Hypotheses: Non-Local Beables and Leibnizian Ubeity

Philosophia Scientiae 20:149-166 (2016)
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Abstract

Do theories of quantum mechanics and quantum gravity require spacetime to be a basic, ground level feature, or can spacetime be seen as an emergent element of these theories? While several commentators have raised serious doubts about the prospects of forgoing the standard spacetime backdrop, it will be argued that a defense of these emergent spacetime interpretations of quantum mechanics and quantum gravity hypotheses can be made, whether as an inference to the best explanation or using another strategy. Furthermore, the idea that space and time can arise from a quite different, non-spatiotemporal level of reality will be shown to have various historical precedents, especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a realization that may help dispel some of the mystery associated with these types of hypotheses.

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Edward Slowik
Winona State University

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