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  1. A Proposal for a Metaphysics of Self-Subsisting Structures. I. Classical Physics.Antonio Vassallo, Pedro Naranjo & Tim Koslowski - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-32.
    We present a new metaphysical framework for physics that is conceptually clear, ontologically parsimonious, and empirically adequate. This framework relies on the notion of self-subsisting structure, that is, a set of fundamental physical elements whose individuation and behavior are described in purely relational terms, without any need for a background spacetime. Although the specification of the fundamental elements of the ontology depends on the particular physical domain considered---and is thus susceptible to scientific progress---, the empirically successful structural features of the (...)
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  • Super-Humeanism and Physics: A Merry Relationship?Vera Matarese - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):791-813.
    Humeanism started life as a metaphysical program that could turn out to be false if our best physical theories were to postulate ontological features at odds with Humean ones. However, even if this has arguably already happened, Humeanism is still considered one of the strongest and most appealing metaphysical theories for describing the physical world. What is even more surprising is that a radical Humean thesis—Super-Humeanism—which posits an extremely parsimonious ontology including nothing more than propertyless matter points and their distance (...)
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  • Loop Quantum Gravity: A New Threat to Humeanism? Part I: The Problem of Spacetime.Vera Matarese - 2019 - Foundations of Physics 49 (3):232-259.
    In this paper, I discuss whether the results of loop quantum gravity constitute a fatal blow to Humeanism. There is at least a prima facie reason for believing so: while Humeanism regards spatiotemporal relations as fundamental, LQG describes the fundamental layer of our reality in terms of spin networks, which are not in spacetime. However, the question should be tackled more carefully. After explaining the importance of the debate on the tenability of Humeanism in light of LQG, and having presented (...)
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  • A challenge for Super-Humeanism: the problem of immanent comparisons.Vera Matarese - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):4001-4020.
    According to the doctrine of Super-Humeanism, the world’s mosaic consists only of permanent matter points and changing spatial relations, while all the other entities and features figuring in scientific theories are nomological parameters, whose role is merely to build the best law system. In this paper, I develop an argument against Super-Humeanism by pointing out that it is vulnerable to and does not have the resources to solve the well-known problem of immanent comparisons. Firstly, I show that it cannot endorse (...)
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  • Regularity Comparativism About Mass in Newtonian Gravity.Niels C. M. Martens - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1226-1238.
    Comparativism—the view that mass ratios are not grounded in absolute masses—faces a challenge by Baker which suggests that absolute masses are empirically meaningful. Regularity comparativism uses a liberalized version of the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis Best Systems Account to have both the laws of Newtonian gravity and the absolute mass scale supervene on a comparativist Humean mosaic as a package deal. I discuss three objections to this view and conclude that it is untenable. The most severe problem is that once we have reduced (...)
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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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  • When Fields Are Not Degrees of Freedom.Vera Hartenstein & Mario Hubert - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (1):245-275.
    We show that in the Maxwell–Lorentz theory of classical electrodynamics most initial values for fields and particles lead to an ill-defined dynamics, as they exhibit singularities or discontinuities along light-cones. This phenomenon suggests that the Maxwell equations and the Lorentz force law ought rather to be read as a system of delay differential equations, that is, differential equations that relate a function and its derivatives at different times. This mathematical reformulation, however, leads to physical and philosophical consequences for the ontological (...)
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  • Space, Time and Parsimony.Daniel Nolan - forthcoming - Noûs.
    This paper argues that all of the standard theories about the divisions of space and time can benefit from, and may need to rely on, parsimony considerations. More specifically, whether spacetime is discrete, gunky or pointy, there are wildly unparsimonious rivals to standard accounts that need to be resisted by proponents of those accounts, and only parsimony considerations offer a natural way of doing that resisting. Furthermore, quantitative parsimony considerations appear to be needed in many of these cases.
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