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Pessimistic metainduction is a powerful argument against scientific realism, so one of the major roles for advocates of scientific realism will be trying their best to give a sustained response to this argument. On the other hand, it is also alleged that structural realism is the most plausible form of scientific realism; therefore, the plausibility of scientific realism is threatened unless one is given the explicit form of a structural continuity and minimal structural preservation for all our current theories. This (...) 

Formal criteria of theoretical equivalence are mathematical mappings between specific sorts of mathematical objects, notably including those objects used in mathematical physics. Proponents of formal criteria claim that results involving these criteria have implications that extend beyond pure mathematics. For instance, they claim that formal criteria bear on the project of using our best mathematical physics as a guide to what the world is like, and also have deflationary implications for various debates in the metaphysics of physics. In this paper, (...) 

The singularities from the general relativity resulting by solving Einstein's equations were and still are the subject of many scientific debates: Are there singularities in spacetime, or not? Big Bang was an initial singularity? If singularities exist, what is their ontology? Is the general theory of relativity a theory that has shown its limits in this case? In this essay I argue that there are singularities, and the general theory of relativity, as any other scientific theory at present, is not (...) 

In this critical notice we argue against William Craig's recent attempt to reconcile presentism (roughly, the view that only the present is real) with relativity theory. Craig's defense of his position boils down to endorsing a ‘neoLorentzian interpretation’ of special relativity. We contend that his reconstruction of Lorentz's theory and its historical development is fatally flawed and that his arguments for reviving this theory fail on many counts. 1 Rival theories of time 2 Relativity and the present 3 Special relativity: (...) 

Singularitățile la care se ajunge în relativitatea generală prin rezolvarea ecuațiilor lui Einstein au fost și încă mai sunt subiectul a numeroase dezbateri științifice: Există sau nu, singularități? Big Bang a fost o singularitate inițială? Dacă singularitățile există, care este ontologia acestora? Este teoria generală a relativității o teorie care șia arătat limitele în acest caz? În acest eseu argumentez faptul că există singularități, iar teoria generală a relativității, ca de altfel oricare altă teorie științifică din prezent, nu este valabilă (...) 

General Relativity generated various early philosophical interpretations. His adherents have highlighted the "relativization of inertia" and the concept of simultaneity, Kantians and NeoKantians have underlined the approach of certain synthetic "intellectual forms" (especially the principle of general covariance, and logical empirics have emphasized the philosophical methodological significance of the theory. Reichenbach approached the GR through the "relativity of geometry" thesis, trying to build a "constructive axiomatization" of relativity based on "elementary matters of fact" (Elementartatbestande) for the observable behavior of light (...) 

The hole argument purports to show that all spacetime theories of a certain form are indeterministic, including the General Theory of Relativity. The argument has given rise to an industry of searching for a metaphysics of spacetime that delivers the right modal implications to rescue determinism. In this paper, I first argue that certain prominent extant replies to the hole argument—namely, those that appeal to an essentialist doctrine about spacetime—fail to deliver the requisite modal implications. As part of my argument, (...) 

The paper discusses from a metaphysical standpoint the nature of the dependence relation underpinning the talk of mutual action between material and spatiotemporal structures in general relativity. It is shown that the standard analyses of dependence in terms of causation or grounding are illsuited for the general relativistic context. Instead, a nonstandard analytical framework in terms of structural equation modeling is exploited, which leads to the conclusion that the kind of dependence encoded in the Einstein field equations is a novel (...) 

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. 

A ‘duality’ is a formal mapping between the spaces of solutions of two empirically equivalent theories. In recent times, dualities have been found to be pervasive in string theory and quantum field theory. Naïvely interpreted, dualityrelated theories appear to make very different ontological claims about the world—differing in e.g. spacetime structure, fundamental ontology, and mereological structure. In light of this, dualityrelated theories raise questions familiar from discussions of underdetermination in the philosophy of science: in the presence of dual theories, what (...) 

There is broad consensus as to what a rigid body is in classical mechanics. The idea is that a rigid body is an undeformable body. In this paper I show that, if this identification is accepted, there are therefore rigid bodies which are unstable. Instability here means that the evolution of certain rigid bodies, even when isolated from all external influence, may be such that their identity is not preserved over time. The result is followed by analyzing supertasks that are (...) 

Many philosophers of physics take the failure of the laws of physics to be invariant under the time reversal transformation to give us good reason to think that spacetime is temporally anisotropic, yet the details of this inference are rarely made explicit. I discuss two reasonable ways of filling in the details of this inference, the first of which utilizes a symmetry principle proposed by John Earman and the second of which utilizes Harvey Brown’s account of spacetime. I contend that (...) 

I provide a fairly systematic analysis of when quantities that are variant under a dynamical symmetry transformation should be regarded as unobservable, or redundant, or unreal; of when models related by a dynamical symmetry transformation represent the same state of affairs; and of when mathematical structure that is variant under a dynamical symmetry transformation should be regarded as surplus. In most of these cases the answer is `it depends': depends, that is, on the details of the symmetry in question. A (...) 

Numerous approaches to a quantum theory of gravity posit fundamental ontologies that exclude spacetime, either partially or wholly. This situation raises deep questions about how such theories could relate to the empirical realm, since arguably only entities localized in spacetime can ever be observed. Are such entities even possible in a theory without fundamental spacetime? How might they be derived, formally speaking? Moreover, since by assumption the fundamental entities cannot be smaller than the derived and so cannot ‘compose’ them in (...) 

We address a recent proposal concerning ‘surplus structure’ due to Nguyen et al.. We argue that the sense of ‘surplus structure’ captured by their formal criterion is importantly different from—and in a sense, opposite to—another sense of ‘surplus structure’ used by philosophers. We argue that minimizing structure in one sense is generally incompatible with minimizing structure in the other sense. We then show how these distinctions bear on Nguyen et al.’s arguments about YangMills theory and on the hole argument. 

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. 

Substantivalists believe that spacetime and its parts are fundamental constituents of reality. Relationalists deny this, claiming that spacetime enjoys only a derivative existence. I begin by describing how the Galilean symmetries of Newtonian physics tell against both Newton's brand of substantivalism and the most obvious relationalist alternative. I then review the obvious substantivalist response to the problem, which is to ditch substantival space for substantival spacetime. The resulting position has many affinities with what are arguably the most natural interpretations of (...) 

Harvey Brown’s Physical Relativity defends a view, the dynamical perspective, on the nature of spacetime that goes beyond the familiar dichotomy of substantivalist/relationist views. A full defense of this view requires attention to the way that our use of spacetime concepts connect with the physical world. Reflection on such matters, I argue, reveals that the dynamical perspective affords the only possible view about the ontological status of spacetime, in that putative rivals fail to express anything, either true or false. I (...) 

I argue that the best spacetime setting for Newtonian gravitation (NG) is the curved spacetime setting associated with geometrized Newtonian gravitation (GNG). Appreciation of the ‘Newtonian equivalence principle’ leads us to conclude that the gravitational field in NG itself is a gauge quantity, and that the freely falling frames are naturally identified with inertial frames. In this context, the spacetime structure of NG is represented not by the flat neoNewtonian connection usually made explicit in formulations, but by the sum of (...) 

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 traditional absolutistrelationist debate is still clearly formulable in the context of General Relativity Theory (GTR), despite the important differences between Einstein's theory and the earlier context of Newtonian physics. This paper answers recent arguments by Robert Rynasiewicz against the significance of the debate in the GTR context. In his (1996) (‘Absolute vs. Relational Spacetime: An Outmoded Debate?’), Rynasiewicz argues that already in the late nineteenth century, and even more so in the context of General Relativity theory, the terms of (...) 

Mereological nihilism says that there do not exist (in the fundamental sense) any objects with proper parts. A reason to accept it is that we can thereby eliminate 'part' from fundamental ideology. Many purported reasons to reject it  based on common sense, perception, and the possibility of gunk, for example  are weak. A more powerful reason is that composite objects seem needed for spacetime physics; but sets suffice instead. 

This is a short, nontechnical introduction to features of time in classical and relativistic physics and their representation in the fourdimensional geometry of spacetime. Topics discussed include: the relativity of simultaneity in special and general relativity; the ‘twin paradox’ and differential aging effects in special and general relativity; and time travel in general relativity. 

This paper formulates generalized versions of the general principle of relativity and of the principle of equivalence that can be applied to general abstract spaces. It is shown that when the principles are applied to the Hilbert space of a quantum particle, its law of coupling to electromagnetic fields is obtained. It is suggested to understand the AharonovBohm effect in light of these principles, and the implications for some related foundational controversies are discussed. 



The purpose of this work is to address the relation existing between ancient Greek practical geometry and ancient Greek pure geometry. In the first part of the work, we will consider practical and pure geometry and how pure geometry can be seen, in some respects, as arising from an idealization of practical geometry. From an analysis of relevant extant texts, we will make explicit the idealizations at play in pure geometry in relation to practical geometry, some of which are basically (...) 

I describe how relativistic field theory generalizes the paradigm property of material systems, the possession of mass, to the requirement that they have a mass–energy–momentum density tensor T µ associated with them. I argue that T µ does not represent an intrinsic property of matter. For it will become evident that the definition of T µ depends on the metric field g µ in a variety of ways. Accordingly, since g µ represents the geometry of spacetime itself, the properties of (...) 

What ontology does realism about the quantum state suggest? The main extant view in contemporary philosophy of physics is wavefunction realism . We elaborate the sense in which wavefunction realism does provide an ontological picture, and defend it from certain objections that have been raised against it. However, there are good reasons to be dissatisfied with wavefunction realism, as we go on to elaborate. This motivates the development of an opposing picture: what we call spacetime state realism , a view (...) 

While empirical symmetries relate situations, theoretical symmetries relate models of a theory we use to represent them. An empirical symmetry is perfect if and only if any two situations it relates share all intrinsic properties. Sometimes one can use a theory to explain an empirical symmetry by showing how it follows from a corresponding theoretical symmetry. The theory then reveals a perfect symmetry. I say what this involves and why it matters, beginning with a puzzle that is resolved by the (...) 

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 (...) 

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 (...) 

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. 

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 (...) 

This essay develops a interpretation of Leibniz’ theory of motion that strives to integrate his metaphysics of force with his doctrine of the equivalence of hypotheses, but which also supports a realist, as opposed to a fully idealist, interpretation of his natural philosophy. Overall, the modern approaches to Leibniz’ physics that rely on a fixed spacetime backdrop, classical mechanical constructions, or absolute speed, will be revealed as deficient, whereas a more adequate interpretation will be advanced that draws inspiration from an (...) 

In this article, I give a counterexample to a claim made in that empirically equivalent theories can often be regarded as theoretically equivalent by treating one as having surplus structure, thereby overcoming the problem of underdetermination of theory choice. The case I present is that of Lorentz's ether theory and Einstein's theory of special relativity. I argue that Norton's suggestion that surplus structure is present in Lorentz's theory in the form of the ether state of rest is based on a (...) 



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. 

In this paper I claim that Earman and Norton 's hole argument against substantivalist interpretations of General Relativity assumes that the substantivalist must adopt a conception of determinism which I argue is unsatisfactory. Butterfield and others have responded to the hole argument by finding a conception of determinism open to the substantivalist that is not prone to the hole argument. But, unfortunately for the substantivalist, I argue this conception also turns out to be unsatisfactory. Accordingly, I search for a conception (...) 

To what extent can constructive mathematics based on intuitionistc logic recover the mathematics needed for spacetime physics? Certain aspects of this important question are examined, both technical and philosophical. On the technical side, order, connectivity, and extremization properties of the continuum are reviewed, and attention is called to certain striking results concerning causal structure in General Relativity Theory, in particular the singularity theorems of Hawking and Penrose. As they stand, these results appear to elude constructivization. On the philosophical side, it (...) 

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 (...) 

The standard view is that the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of classical mechanics are theoretically equivalent. Jill North, however, argues that they are not. In particular, she argues that the statespace of Hamiltonian mechanics has less structure than the statespace of Lagrangian mechanics. I will isolate two arguments that North puts forward for this conclusion and argue that neither yet succeeds. 1 Introduction2 Hamiltonian Statespace Has less Structure than Lagrangian Statespace2.1 Lagrangian statespace is metrical2.2 Hamiltonian statespace is symplectic2.3 Metric > (...) 

In this article, I examine whether or not the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian formulations of classical mechanics are equivalent theories. I do so by applying a standard for equivalence that was recently introduced into philosophy of science by Halvorson and Weatherall. This case study yields three general philosophical payoffs. The first concerns what a theory is, while the second and third concern how we should interpret what our physical theories say about the world. 1Introduction 2When Are Two Theories Equivalent? 3Preliminaries on (...) 

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 (...) 

Using as a starting point recent and apparently incompatible conclusions by Saunders and Knox, I revisit the question of the correct spacetime setting for Newtonian physics. I argue that understood correctly, these two versions of Newtonian physics make the same claims both about the background geometry required to define the theory, and about the inertial structure of the theory. In doing so I illustrate and explore in detail the view—espoused by Knox, and also by Brown —that inertial structure is defined (...) 

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 (...) 

This paper forms part of a wider campaign: to deny pointillisme, the doctrine that a physical theory's fundamental quantities are defined at points of space or of spacetime, and represent intrinsic properties of such points or pointsized objects located there; so that properties of spatial or spatiotemporal regions and their material contents are determined by the pointbypoint facts. More specifically, this paper argues against pointillisme about the concept of velocity in classical mechanics; especially against proposals by Tooley, Robinson and Lewis. (...) 

The rotating discs argument against perdurantism has been mostly discussed by metaphysicians, though the argument of course appeals to ideas from classical mechanics, especially about rotation. In contrast, I assess the RDA from the perspective of the philosophy of physics. I argue for three main conclusions. The first conclusion is that the RDA can be formulated more strongly than is usually recognized: it is not necessary to ‘imagine away’ the dynamical effects of rotation. The second is that in general relativity, (...) 

En el ámbito de la teoría general de la relatividad (TGR), se considera que el espaciotiempo es una entidad real. En este sentido, atendiendo al realis mo sobre entidades, surgen problemas como ¿qué tipo de entidad es el espaciotiempo?, ¿cuál es su naturaleza? Tradicionalmente, en atención a dicha teoría conviven dos concepciones realistas: la substancialista, donde el espaciotiempo sería una substancia; y la relacionista, tal que el espaciotiempo correspondería a una “relación entre substancias”. 

