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  1. On Symmetry and Duality.Sebastian De Haro & Jeremy Butterfield - forthcoming - Synthese:1-41.
    We advocate an account of dualities between physical theories: the basic idea is that dual theories are isomorphic representations of a common core. We defend and illustrate this account, which we call a Schema, in relation to symmetries. Overall, the account meshes well with standard treatments of symmetries. But the distinction between the common core and the dual theories prompts a distinction between three kinds of symmetry: which we call `stipulated', `accidental' and `proper'.
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  • Spacetime, Ontology, and Structural Realism.Edward Slowik - 2005 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (2):147 – 166.
    This essay explores the possibility of constructing a structural realist interpretation of spacetime theories that can resolve the ontological debate between substantivalists and relationists. Drawing on various structuralist approaches in the philosophy of mathematics, as well as on the theoretical complexities of general relativity, our investigation will reveal that a structuralist approach can be beneficial to the spacetime theorist as a means of deflating some of the ontological disputes regarding similarly structured spacetimes.
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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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  • Machian Comparativism About Mass.Niels C. M. Martens - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz013.
    Absolutism about mass within Newtonian gravity claims that mass ratios obtain in virtue of absolute masses. Comparativism denies this. Defenders of comparativism promise to recover all the empirical and theoretical virtues of absolutism, but at a lower ‘metaphysical cost’. This article develops a Machian form of comparativism about mass in Newtonian gravity, obtained by replacing Newton’s constant in the law of universal gravitation by another constant divided by the sum over all masses. Although this form of comparativism is indeed empirically (...)
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  • Explanation, Geometry, and Conspiracy in Relativity Theory.James Read - unknown
    I discuss the debate between dynamical versus geometrical approaches to spacetime theories, in the context of both special and general relativity, arguing that the debate takes a substantially different form in the two cases; different versions of the geometrical approach—only some of which are viable—should be distinguished; in general relativity, there is no difference between the most viable version of the geometrical approach and the dynamical approach. In addition, I demonstrate that what have previously been dubbed two ‘miracles’ of general (...)
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  • Critical Notice.Jeremy Butterfield - 2002 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (2):289-330.
    This review of Julian Barbour's The End of Time ([1999]) discusses his Machian theories of dynamics, and his proposal that a Machian perspective enables one to solve the problem of time in quantum geometrodynamics, viz. by saying that there is no time! 1 Introduction 2 Machian themes in classical physics 2.1 The status quo 2.2 Machianism 2.2.1 The temporal metric as emergent 2.2.2 Machian theories 2.2.3 Assessing intrinsic dynamics 3 The end of time? 3.1 Time unreal? The classical case 3.1.1 (...)
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  • Minkowski Space-Time: A Glorious Non-Entity.Harvey R. Brown & Oliver Pooley - 2004 - In Dennis Dieks (ed.), The Ontology of Spacetime. Elsevier. pp. 67--89.
    It is argued that Minkowski space-time cannot serve as the deep structure within a ``constructive'' version of the special theory of relativity, contrary to widespread opinion in the philosophical community.
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  • Time in Cosmology.Chris Smeenk - 2013 - In A. Bardon & H. Dyke (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to the Philosophy of Time. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 201-219.
    This essay aims to provide a self-contained introduction to time in relativistic cosmology that clarifies both how questions about the nature of time should be posed in this setting and the extent to which they have been or can be answered empirically. The first section below recounts the loss of Newtonian absolute time with the advent of special and general relativity, and the partial recovery of absolute time in the form of cosmic time in some cosmological models. Section II considers (...)
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  • Relationalism About Mechanics Based on a Minimalist Ontology of Matter.Antonio Vassallo, Dirk-André Deckert & Michael Esfeld - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-20.
    This paper elaborates on relationalism about space and time as motivated by a minimalist ontology of the physical world: there are only matter points that are individuated by the distance relations among them, with these relations changing. We assess two strategies to combine this ontology with physics, using classical mechanics as example: the Humean strategy adopts the standard, non-relationalist physical theories as they stand and interprets their formal apparatus as the means of bookkeeping of the change of the distance relations (...)
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  • Dust, Time and Symmetry.Gordon Belot - 2005 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (2):255-291.
    Two symmetry arguments are discussed, each purporting to show that there is no more room for a preferred division of spacetime into instants of time in general relativistic cosmology than in Minkowski spacetime. The first argument is due to Gödel, and concerns the symmetries of his famous rotating cosmologies. The second turns upon the symmetries of a certain space of relativistic possibilities. Both arguments are found wanting.
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  • Relationalism Rehabilitated? I: Classical Mechanics.Oliver Pooley & Harvey R. Brown - 2002 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (2):183--204.
    The implications for the substantivalist–relationalist controversy of Barbour and Bertotti's successful implementation of a Machian approach to dynamics are investigated. It is argued that in the context of Newtonian mechanics, the Machian framework provides a genuinely relational interpretation of dynamics and that it is more explanatory than the conventional, substantival interpretation. In a companion paper (Pooley [2002a]), the viability of the Machian framework as an interpretation of relativistic physics is explored. 1 Introduction 2 Newton versus Leibniz 3 Absolute space versus (...)
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  • Relationism Rehabilitated? II: Relativity.Oliver Pooley - manuscript
    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, (...)
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  • Symplectic Reduction and the Problem of Time in Nonrelativistic Mechanics.Karim P. Y. Thebault - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (4):789-824.
    Symplectic reduction is a formal process through which degeneracy within the mathematical representations of physical systems displaying gauge symmetry can be controlled via the construction of a reduced phase space. Typically such reduced spaces provide us with a formalism for representing both instantaneous states and evolution uniquely and for this reason can be justifiably afforded the status of fun- damental dynamical arena - the otiose structure having been eliminated from the original phase space. Essential to the application of symplectic reduction (...)
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  • Symmetry & Possibility: To Reduce or Not Reduce?Dean Rickles - unknown
    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 non-reduction. 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 non-reductive methods.
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  • Empirical Equivalence, Artificial Gauge Freedom and a Generalized Kretschmann Objection.J. Brian Pitts - unknown
    Einstein considered general covariance to characterize the novelty of his General Theory of Relativity (GTR), but Kretschmann thought it merely a formal feature that any theory could have. The claim that GTR is ``already parametrized'' suggests analyzing substantive general covariance as formal general covariance achieved without hiding preferred coordinates as scalar ``clock fields,'' much as Einstein construed general covariance as the lack of preferred coordinates. Physicists often install gauge symmetries artificially with additional fields, as in the transition from Proca's to (...)
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  • Geometry, Fields, and Spacetime.James Binkoski - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):1097-1117.
    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 (...)
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  • Super-Humeanism: A Starving Ontology.Dustin Lazarovici - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:79-86.
    The paper provides a critical discussion of the Super-Humean view of spacetime and the “minimalist ontology” in terms of Leibnizian relations and primitive matter points, recently developed by Esfeld et al. It investigates, in particular, the empirical adequacy of the proposed metaphysics, arguing that Super-Humeanism cannot provide a plausible account of space and time without committing to bona fide geometric structure in the fundamental relations. Against this backdrop, I propose a moderate version of Super-Humeanism and discuss its possible application to (...)
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  • Are Shapes Intrinsic?Bradford Skow - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (1):111 - 130.
    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.
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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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  • Classical Spacetime Structure.James Owen Weatherall - unknown
    I discuss several issues related to "classical" spacetime structure. I review Galilean, Newtonian, and Leibnizian spacetimes, and briefly describe more recent developments. The target audience is undergraduates and early graduate students in philosophy; the presentation avoids mathematical formalism as much as possible.
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  • Time and Structure in Canonical Gravity.Dean Rickles - 2004 - In Dean Rickles, Steven French & Juha T. Saatsi (eds.), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity. Clarendon Press.
    In this paper I wish to make some headway on understanding what \emph{kind} of problem the ``problem of time'' is, and offer a possible resolution---or, rather, a new way of understanding an old resolution. The response I give is a variation on a theme of Rovelli's \emph{evolving constants of motion} strategy. I argue that by giving correlation strategies a \emph{structuralist} basis, a number of objections to the standard account can be blunted. Moreover, I show that the account I offer provides (...)
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  • Three Denials of Time in the Interpretation of Canonical Gravity.Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (4):277-294.
    The analysis of the temporal structure of canonical general relativity and the connected interpretational questions with regard to the role of time within the theory both rest upon the need to respect the fundamentally dual role of the Hamiltonian constraints found within the formalism. Any consistent philosophical approach towards the theory must pay dues to the role of these constraints in both generating dynamics, in the context of phase space, and generating unphysical symmetry transformations, in the context of a hypersurface (...)
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  • Against Comparativism About Mass in Newtonian Gravity - a Case Study in the Metaphysics of Scale.Niels C. M. Martens - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    This thesis concerns the metaphysics of scale. It investigates the implications of a physical determinable being dimensionful. In particular, it considers the case study of mass, as it features within Newtonian Gravity. Nevertheless, most of the terminology, methodology and arguments developed should be relatively straightforwardly applicable to other determinables and theories. -/- Weak Absolutism about mass holds that mass ratios obtain in virtue of absolute masses. Weak Comparativism denies this. In the first five chapters I argue in favour of Weak (...)
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  • Comments on Sklar's "Barbour's Relationist Metric of Time".Oliver Pooley - 2004 - Chronos 6:77-86.
    Julian Barbour's approach to dynamics is reviewed. With a particular focus on questions of explanation and confirmation, the approach is contrasted with standard formulations of dynamics. This paper expands upon my commentary on Lawrence Sklar's paper at the Philosophy of Time Society meeting at the APA's Central Division meeting in Chicago, April 2004. Although a commentary, the current paper is comprehensible without reference to Sklar's paper.
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  • The Bare Necessities.Shamik Dasgupta - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):115-160.
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