How to Be a Spacetime Substantivalist

Journal of Philosophy 119 (5):233-278 (2022)

Abstract

The consensus among spacetime substantivalists is to respond to Leibniz's classic shift arguments, and their contemporary incarnation in the form of the hole argument, by pruning the allegedly problematic metaphysical possibilities that generate these arguments. Some substantivalists do so by directly appealing to a modal doctrine akin to anti-haecceitism. Other substantivalists do so by appealing to an underlying hyperintensional doctrine that implies some such modal doctrine. My first aim in this paper is to pose a challenge for all extant forms of this consensus position. My second aim is to show what form substantivalism must take in order to uphold the consensus while addressing this challenge. The result is a novel "plenitudinous" substantivalist view, which predicts that certain modal facts about spacetime are vague or indeterminate. I then argue against this view on independent grounds, concluding that substantivalists should reject the consensus position. The paper also discusses the way forward for substantivalists in light of this conclusion.

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-09-03

Downloads
476 (#20,192)

6 months
145 (#3,902)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.

View all 87 references / Add more references

Similar books and articles

Holes in Spacetime: Some Neglected Essentials.Trevor Teitel - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (7):353-389.
The Hole Argument.John D. Norton - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:56 - 64.
Spacetime and Holes.Carolyn Brighouse - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:117 - 125.
What Price Spacetime Substantivalism? The Hole Story.John Earman & John Norton - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (4):515-525.
Holes, Haecceitism and Two Conceptions of Determinism.Joseph Melia - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (4):639--64.
Substantivalism, Relationism, and Structural Spacetime Realism.Mauro Dorato - 2000 - Foundations of Physics 30 (10):1605-1628.