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  1. Moderate Structural Realism About Space-Time.Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam - 2008 - Synthese 160 (1):27 - 46.
    This paper sets out a moderate version of metaphysical structural realism that stands in contrast to both the epistemic structural realism of Worrall and the—radical—ontic structural realism of French and Ladyman. According to moderate structural realism, objects and relations (structure) are on the same ontological footing, with the objects being characterized only by the relations in which they stand. We show how this position fares well as regards philosophical arguments, avoiding the objections against the other two versions of structural realism. (...)
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  • On Structuralism’s Multiple Paths Through Spacetime Theories.Edward Slowik - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):45-66.
    This essay examines the underdetermination problem that plagues structuralist approaches to spacetime theories, with special emphasis placed on the epistemic brands of structuralism, whether of the scientific realist variety or not. Recent non-realist structuralist accounts, by Friedman and van Fraassen, have touted the fact that different structures can accommodate the same evidence as a virtue vis-à-vis their realist counterparts; but, as will be argued, these claims gain little traction against a properly constructed liberal version of epistemic structural realism. Overall, a (...)
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  • The ‘Space’ at the Intersection of Platonism and Nominalism.Edward Slowik - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (2):393-408.
    This essay explores the use of platonist and nominalist concepts, derived from the philosophy of mathematics and metaphysics, as a means of elucidating the debate on spacetime ontology and the spatial structures endorsed by scientific realists. Although the disputes associated with platonism and nominalism often mirror the complexities involved with substantivalism and relationism, it will be argued that a more refined three-part distinction among platonist/nominalist categories can nonetheless provide unique insights into the core assumptions that underlie spatial ontologies, but it (...)
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  • Newton, the Parts of Space, and the Holism of Spatial Ontology.Edward Slowik - 2011 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 1 (2):249-272.
    This article investigates the problem of the identity of the parts of space in Newton’s natural philosophy, as well as the holistic or structuralist nature of Newton’s ontology of space. Additionally, this article relates the lessons reached in this historical and philosophical investigation to analogous debates in contemporary space-time ontology. While previous contributions, by Nerlich, Huggett, and others, have proven to be informative in evaluating Newton’s claims, it will be argued that the underlying goals of Newton’s views have largely eluded (...)
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  • Minkowski Spacetime and Lorentz Invariance: The Cart and the Horse or Two Sides of a Single Coin?Pablo Acuña - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 55:1-12.
    Michel Janssen and Harvey Brown have driven a prominent recent debate concerning the direction of an alleged arrow of explanation between Minkowski spacetime and Lorentz invariance of dynamical laws in special relativity. In this article, I critically assess this controversy with the aim of clarifying the explanatory foundations of the theory. First, I show that two assumptions shared by the parties—that the dispute is independent of issues concerning spacetime ontology, and that there is an urgent need for a constructive interpretation (...)
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  • The Modal Nature of Structures in Ontic Structural Realism.Michael Esfeld - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):179 – 194.
    Ontic structural realism is the view that structures are what is real in the first place in the domain of fundamental physics. The structures are usually conceived as including a primitive modality. However, it has not been spelled out as yet what exactly that modality amounts to. This paper proposes to fill this lacuna by arguing that the fundamental physical structures possess a causal essence, being powers. Applying the debate about causal vs categorical properties in analytic metaphysics to ontic structural (...)
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  • Similarity Assessments, Spacetime, and the Gravitational Field: What Does the Metric Tensor Represent in General Relativity?Rey David - unknown
    In this paper I explore the dialectics underlying the choice between a geometrical and a field interpretation of the metric tensor gab in general relativity. My aim is to examine the role of a specific type of reasoning process in interpreting gab. In recent years, philosophers of physics have claimed that the problem of choosing between the two interpretations in question is somehow insubstantial. This appearance of insubstantiality, I contend, stems from a basic form of underdetermination that affects the concepts (...)
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  • A New Approach to the Relational‐Substantival Debate.Jill North - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 11:3-43.
    We should see the debate over the existence of spacetime as a debate about the fundamentality of spatiotemporal structure to the physical world. This is a non-traditional conception of the debate, which captures the spirit of the traditional one. At the same time, it clarifies the point of contention between opposing views and offsets worries that the dispute is stagnant or non-substantive. It also unearths a novel argument for substantivalism, given current physics. Even so, that conclusion can be overridden by (...)
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  • A Pre-History of Quantum Gravity: The Seventeenth Century Legacy and the Deep Metaphysics of Space Beyond Substantivalism and Relationism.Edward Slowik - unknown
    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 (...)
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  • In Search of (Spacetime) Structuralism.Hilary Greaves - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):189-204.
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