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In a companion paper (Pooley & Brown 2001) it is argued that Julian Barbour's Machian approach to dynamics provides a genuinely relational interpretation of Newtonian dynamics and that it is more explanatory than the conventional, substantival interpretation. In this paper the extension of the approach to relativistic physics is considered. General relativity, it turns out, can be reinterpreted as a perfectly Machian theory. However, there are difficulties with viewing the Machian interpretation as more fundamental than the conventional, spacetime interpretation. Moreover, (...) 

Whereas one can conceive of a relational classical mechanics in which absolute space and time do not play a fundamental role, quantum mechanics does not readily admit any such relational formulation. 

James L. Anderson analyzed the novelty of Einstein's theory of gravity as its lack of "absolute objects." Michael Friedman's related work has been criticized by Roger Jones and Robert Geroch for implausibly admitting as absolute the timelike 4velocity field of dust in cosmological models in Einstein's theory. Using the RosenSorkin Lagrange multiplier trick, I complete Anna Maidens's argument that the problem is not solved by prohibiting variation of absolute objects in an action principle. Recalling Anderson's proscription of "irrelevant" variables, I (...) 

The Atheory of time has intuitive and metaphysical appeal, but suffers from tension, if not inconsistency, with the special and general theories of relativity (STR and GTR). The Atheory requires a notion of global simultaneity invariant under the symmetries of the world's laws, those ostensible transformations of the state of the world that in fact leave the world as it was before. Relativistic physics, if read in a realistic sense, denies that there exists any notion of global simultaneity that is (...) 

The aim of this paper is to analyze Leibniz and Newton’s conception of space, and to point out where their agreements and disagreements lie with respect to its mode of existence. I shall offer a definite characterization of Leibniz and Newton’s conceptions of space. I will show that, according to their own concepts of substance, both Newtonian and Leibnizian spaces are not substantiva!. The reason of that consists in the fact that space is not capable of action. Moreover, there is (...) 

"The last remnant of physical objectivity of spacetime" is disclosed, beyond the Leibniz equivalence, in the case of a continuous family of spatially noncompact models of general relativity. The physical individuation of pointevents is furnished by the intrinsic degrees of freedom of the gravitational field, (viz, the "Dirac observables") that represent  as it were  the "ontic" part of the metric field. The physical role of the "epistemic" part (viz. the "gauge" variables) is likewise clarified. At the end, a (...) 

The aim of this paper is to place the considerations provided by a philosophical family of positions called “spacetime structuralism” in the context of the debate between classical views: substantivalism and relationism in the philosophy of spacetime. Altough this task was somehow tackled in the past by other researchers, they never stated most generally, what exactly the problem with spacetime structuralism as a standpoint was. I view that problem as the problem of its autonomy and potential reducibility to both of (...) 

Straipsnyje nagrinėjama absoliutistinės ir reliacionistinės erdvės ir laiko koncepcijų kontroversija. Lyginamos Newtono ir Leibnizo teorijos, pateikiami kitų diskusijoje dalyvavusių filosofų požiūriai. Atskleidžiami abiejų teorijų argumentacijų trūkumai ir privalumai. Straipsniu nesiekiama atstovauti kuriai nors pozicijai, lyginamoji abiejų požiūrių analizė leidžia skaitytojui susidaryti nešališką vertinimą. Teigiama, kad abiejų erdvės ir laiko sampratų prielaidos yra greičiau metafizinės nei fizikinės. Nurodoma, kad klasikinė diskusija yra vis dar aktuali šiuolaikiniame moksliniame kontekste. 



Symmetries in physics are a guide to reality. That much is well known. But what is less well known is why symmetry is a guide to reality. What justifies inferences that draw conclusions about reality from premises about symmetries? I argue that answering this question reveals that symmetry is an epistemic notion twice over. First, these inferences must proceed via epistemic lemmas: premises about symmetries in the first instance justify epistemic lemmas about our powers of detection, and only from those (...) 

In this paper I examine the connection between symmetry and modality from the perspective of `reduction' methods in geometric mechanics. I begin by setting the problem up as a choice between two opposing views: reduction and nonreduction. I then discern four views on the matter in the literature; they are distinguished by their advocation of distinct geometric spaces as representing `reality'. I come down in favour of nonreductive methods. 

I argue that the standard interpretation of Leibniz as a relationist about space is mistaken, and defend a reading according to which his correspondence with Samuel Clarke actually suggests that Leibniz holds a view closely resembling modern spacetime structuralism. I distinguish my proposal from Belot's recent reading of Leibniz as a modal relationist, arguing for the superiority of my reading based on the Clarke correspondence and on Leibniz's conception of God's relation to the created world. I note a tension between (...) 

In his paper Bare Particulars, T. Sider claims that one of the most plausible candidates for bare particulars are spacetime points. The aim of this paper is to shed light on Sider’s reasoning and its consequences. There are three concepts of spacetime points that allow their identification with bare particulars. One of them, Moderate structural realism, is considered to be the most adequate due its appropriate approach to spacetime metric and moderate view of mereological simples. However, it pushes the Substratum (...) 

These preprints were automatically compiled into a PDF from the collection of papers deposited in PhilSciArchive in conjunction with the PSA 2012. 

Dispositions can combine as vector sums. Recent authors on dispositions, such as George Molnar and Stephen Mumford, have responded to this feature of dispositions by introducing a distinction between effects and contributions to effects, and by identifying dispositionmanifestations with the latter. But some have been sceptical of the reality or knowability of component vectors; Jennifer McKitrick (forthcoming) presses these concerns against the conception of manifestations as contributions to effects. In this paper, I aim to respond to McKitrick's arguments and to (...) 

This dissertation explores several issues related to the CPT theorem. Chapter 2 explores the meaning of spacetime symmetries in general and time reversal in particular. It is proposed that a third conception of time reversal, 'geometric time reversal', is more appropriate for certain theoretical purposes than the existing 'active' and 'passive' conceptions. It is argued that, in the case of classical electromagnetism, a particular nonstandard time reversal operation is at least as defensible as the standard view. This unorthodox time reversal (...) 

This article deals with empty spacetime and the question of its physical reality. By “empty spacetime” we mean a collection of bare spacetime points, the remains of ridding spacetime of all matter and fields. We ask whether these geometric objects—themselves intrinsic to the concept of field—might be observable through some physical test. By taking quantummechanical notions into account, we challenge the negative conclusion drawn from the diffeomorphism invariance postulate of general relativity, and we propose new foundational ideas regarding the possible (...) 

James L. Anderson analyzed the novelty of Einstein's theory of gravity as its lack of "absolute objects." Michael Friedman's related work has been criticized by Roger Jones and Robert Geroch for implausibly admitting as absolute the timelike 4velocity field of dust in cosmological models in Einstein's theory. Using the RosenSorkin Lagrange multiplier trick, I complete Anna Maidens's argument that the problem is not solved by prohibiting variation of absolute objects in an action principle. Recalling Anderson's proscription of "irrelevant" variables, I (...) 



This dissertation is divided into two parts. In the first part I defend substantivalism. I do this by offering, in chapter 1, a counterparttheoretic defense of substantivalism from Leibniz’ shift arguments. Then, in chapter 2, I defend substantivalism from the hole argument and argue, against the consensus, that the question of haecceitism is irrelevant to substantivalism in the context of general relativity. In the second part of the dissertation I defend supersubstantivalism. I do this by offering, in chapter 3, an (...) 

Diffeomorphism invariance is sometimes taken to be a criterion of background independence. This claim is commonly accompanied by a second, that the genuine physical magnitudes (the ``observables'') of backgroundindependent theories and those of backgrounddependent (nondiffeomorphisminvariant) theories are essentially different in nature. I argue against both claims. Backgrounddependent theories can be formulated in a diffeomorphisminvariant manner. This suggests that the nature of the physical magnitudes of relevantly analogous theories (one background free, the other background dependent) is essentially the same. The temptation (...) 

I review some recent work on applications of category theory to questions concerning theoretical structure and theoretical equivalence of classical field theories, including Newtonian gravitation, general relativity, and YangMills theories. 

We often use symmetries to infer outcomes’ probabilities, as when we infer that each side of a fair coin is equally likely to come up on a given toss. Why are these inferences successful? I argue against answering this with an a priori indifference principle. Reasons to reject that principle are familiar, yet instructive. They point to a new, empirical explanation for the success of our probabilistic predictions. This has implications for indifference reasoning in general. I argue that a priori (...) 

This is the chapter on general relativity for the Cambridge Companion to Einstein which I am coediting with Christoph Lehner. 

By analyzing the meaning of time I argue, without endorsing operationalism, that time is necessarily related to physical systems which can serve as clocks. This leads to a version of relationism about time which entails that there is no time 'before' the universe. Three notions of metaphysical 'time' (associated, respectively, with time as a mathematical concept, substantivalism, and modal relationism) which might support the idea of time 'before' the universe are discussed. I argue that there are no good reasons to (...) 

The CPT theorem of quantum field theory states that any relativistic (Lorentzinvariant) quantum field theory must also be invariant under CPT, the composition of charge conjugation, parity reversal and time reversal. This paper sketches a puzzle that seems to arise when one puts the existence of this sort of theorem alongside a standard way of thinking about symmetries, according to which spacetime symmetries (at any rate) are associated with features of the spacetime structure. The puzzle is, roughly, that the existence (...) 

I criticise the view that the relativity and equivalence principles are consequences of the smallscale structure of the metric in general relativity, by arguing that these principles also apply to systems with nontrivial selfgravitation and hence nontrivial spacetime curvature (such as black holes). I provide an alternative account, incorporating aspects of the criticised view, which allows both principles to apply to systems with selfgravity. 

The aim of this paper is to show that a new understanding of fundamentality, can be applied successfully in classical cosmology and is able to improve a fundamental understanding of cosmological time asymmetries. In the introduction, I refer to various views from different literature. I begin by arguing against various arguments, provided in favour of the view that the directedness of time is not a fundamental property of nature, ]) in section 1.1. Next, in section 1.2, I refer to some (...) 

Here, we clarify the relationship among three spacetime conditions of interest: geodesic completeness, holefreeness, and inextendibility. In addition, we introduce a related fourth condition: effective completeness. 

Christopher Timpson proposes a deflationary view about information, according to which the term ‘information’ is an abstract noun and, as a consequence, information is not part of the material contents of the world. The main purpose of the present article consists in supplying a critical analysis of this proposal, which will lead us to conclude that information is an item even more abstract than what Timpson claims. From this view, we embrace a pluralist stance that recognizes the legitimacy of different (...) 

In the first part of this paper a relational account of incongruent counterparts is defended against an argument due to Kant. I then consider a more recent attack on such an account, due to John Earman, which alleges that the relationalist cannot account for the lawlike leftright asymmetry manifested in parityviolating phenomena. I review Hoefer's, Huggett's and Saunders' responses to Earman's argument and argue that, while a relationalist account of parityviolating laws is possible, it comes at the cost of nonlocality. 

The mutual conceptual incompatibility between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics / Quantum Field Theory is generally seen as the most essential motivation for the development of a theory of Quantum Gravity. It leads to the insight that, if gravity is a fundamental interaction and Quantum Mechanics is universally valid, the gravitational field will have to be quantized, not at least because of the inconsistency of semiclassical theories of gravity. The objective of a theory of Quantum Gravity would then be to (...) 



Our goal is to investigate the biological correlates of the firstperson experience of time or phenomenal time. ‘Time’ differs in various domains, such as (i) physical time (e.g., clock time), (ii) biological time, such as the suprachiasmatic nucleus, and (iii) the perceptual rate of time. One psychophysicalmeasure of the perceptual rate is the critical flicker frequency (CFF), in which a flashing light is perceived as unchanging. Focusing on the inability to detect change, as in CFF, may give us insight into (...) 

I present an argument against a relational theory of spacetime that regards spacetime as a ‘structural quality of the field’. The argument takes the form of a trilemma. To make the argument, I focus on relativistic worlds in which there exist just two fields, an electromagnetic field and a gravitational field. Then there are three options: either spacetime is a structural quality of each field separately, both fields together, or one field but not the other. I argue that the first (...) 

I argue that the hole argument is based on a misleading use of the mathematical formalism of general relativity. If one is attentive to mathematical practice, I will argue, the hole argument is blocked. _1._ Introduction _2._ A Warmup Exercise _3._ The Hole Argument _4._ An Argument from Classical Spacetime Theory _5._ The Hole Argument Revisited. 





Reduction and reductionism have been central philosophical topics in analytic philosophy of science for more than six decades. Together they encompass a diversity of issues from metaphysics and epistemology. This article provides an introduction to the topic that illuminates how contemporary epistemological discussions took their shape historically and limns the contours of concrete cases of reduction in specific natural sciences. The unity of science and the impulse to accomplish compositional reduction in accord with a layercake vision of the sciences, the (...) 

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 linesusing the machinery of (...) 

Einstein acknowledged that his reading of Hume influenced the development of his special theory of relativity. In this article, I juxtapose Hume’s philosophy with Einstein’s philosophical analysis related to his special relativity. I argue that there are two common points to be found in their writings, namely an empiricist theory of ideas and concepts, and a relationist ontology regarding space and time. The main thesis of this article is that these two points are intertwined in Hume and Einstein. 

I consider two usages of the expression "gauge theory". On one, a gauge theory is a theory with excess structure; on the other, a gauge theory is any theory appropriately related to classical electromagnetism. I make precise one sense in which one formulation of electromagnetism, the paradigmatic gauge theory on both usages, may be understood to have excess structure, and then argue that gauge theories on the second usage, including YangMills theory and general relativity, do not generally have excess structure (...) 

Here, formal tools are used to pose and answer several philosophical questions concerning space and time. The questions involve the properties of possible worlds allowed by the general theory of relativity. In particular, attention is given to various causal properties such as "determinism" and "time travel". 

This article introduces Harvey Brown and Oliver Pooley’s ‘dynamical approach’ to special relativity, and argues that it may be construed as a relationalist form of Einstein’s ‘practical geometry’. This construal of the dynamical approach is shown to be compatible with related chapters of Brown’s text and also with recent descriptions of the dynamical approach by Pooley and others. 

It is widely believed that shapes are intrinsic properties. But this claim is hard to defend. I survey all known theories of shape properties, and argue that each theory is either incompatible with the claim that shapes are intrinsic, or can be shown to be false. 

When distinguishing absolute, true, and mathematical time from relative, apparent, and common time, Newton wrote: “absolute, true, and mathematical time, in and of itself and of its own nature, without reference to anything external, ﬂows uniformly” [Newton 2004b: 64]. Newton thought that the temporal metric is intrinsic. Many philosophers have argued—for empiricist reasons or otherwise—that Newton was wrong about the nature of time. They think that the ﬂow of time does involve “reference to something external.” They think that the temporal (...) 

This essay demonstrates the inadequacy of contemporary substantivalist and relationist interpretations of quantum gravity hypotheses via an historical investigation of the debate on the underlying ontology of space in the seventeenth century. Viewed in the proper context, there are crucial similarities between seventeenth century theories of space and contemporary work on the ontological foundations of spacetime theories, and these similarities challenge the utility of the substantival/relational dichotomy by revealing a host of underlying conceptual issues that do not naturally align with (...) 

It is widely accepted that the notion of an inertial frame is central to Newtonian mechanics and that the correct spacetime structure underlying Newton’s methods in Principia is neoNewtonian or Galilean spacetime. I argue to the contrary that inertial frames are not needed in Newton’s theory of motion, and that the right spacetime structure for Newton’s Principia requires the notion of parallelism of spatial directions at different times and nothing more. Only relative motions are definable in this framework, never absolute (...) 

Sklar ([1974]) claimed that relationalism about ontologythe doctrine that space and time do not existis compatible with Newtonian mechanics. To defend this claim he sketched a relationalist interpretation of Newtonian mechanics. In his interpretation, absolute acceleration is a fundamental, intrinsic property of material bodies; that a body undergoes absolute acceleration does not entail that space and time exist. But Sklar left his proposal as just a sketch; his defense of relationalism succeeds only if the sketch can be filled in. I (...) 