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Thinking about Spacetime

In Christian Wüthrich, Baptiste Le Bihan & Nick Huggett (eds.), Philosophy Beyond Spacetime. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2021)

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  1. Spacetime: Function and Approximation.Sam Baron - unknown
    Several approaches to quantum gravity signal the loss of spacetime at some level. According to spacetime functionalism, spacetime is functionally realised by a more fundamental structure. According to one version of spacetime functionalism, the spacetime role is specified by Ramsifying general relativity. In some approaches to QG, however, there does not appear to be anything that exactly realises the functional role defined by a Ramsey sentence for GR. The spacetime role is approximately realised. It is open to the spacetime functionalist (...)
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  • Spacetime Emergence in Quantum Gravity: Functionalism and the Hard Problem.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2019 - Synthese.
    Spacetime functionalism is the view that spacetime is a functional structure implemented by a more fundamental ontology. Lam and Wüthrich have recently argued that spacetime functionalism helps to solve the epistemological problem of empirical coherence in quantum gravity and suggested that it also (dis)solves the hard problem of spacetime, namely the problem of offering a picture consistent with the emergence of spacetime from a non-spatio-temporal structure. First, I will deny that spacetime functionalism solves the hard problem by showing that it (...)
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  • Spacetime functionalism from a realist perspective.Vincent Lam & Christian Wüthrich - 2020 - Synthese:1-19.
    In prior work, we have argued that spacetime functionalism provides tools for clarifying the conceptual difficulties specifically linked to the emergence of spacetime in certain approaches to quantum gravity. We argue in this article that spacetime functionalism in quantum gravity is radically different from other functionalist approaches that have been suggested in quantum mechanics and general relativity: in contrast to these latter cases, it does not compete with purely interpretative alternatives, but is rather intertwined with the physical theorizing itself at (...)
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  • Spacetime is as Spacetime Does.Vincent Lam & Christian Wüthrich - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:39-51.
    Theories of quantum gravity generically presuppose or predict that the reality underlying relativistic spacetimes they are describing is significantly non-spatiotemporal. On pain of empirical incoherence, approaches to quantum gravity must establish how relativistic spacetime emerges from their non-spatiotemporal structures. We argue that in order to secure this emergence, it is sufficient to establish that only those features of relativistic spacetimes functionally relevant in producing empirical evidence must be recovered. In order to complete this task, an account must be given of (...)
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  • Composing Spacetime.Sam Baron & Baptiste Le Bihan - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    According to a number of approaches in theoretical physics spacetime does not exist fundamentally. Rather, spacetime exists by depending on another, more fundamental, non-spatiotemporal structure. A prevalent opinion in the literature is that this dependence should not be analysed in terms of composition. We should not say, that is, that spacetime depends on an ontology of non-spatiotemporal entities in virtue of having them as parts. But is that really right? On the contrary, we argue that a mereological approach to dependent (...)
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  • Wave-functionalism.Valia Allori - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    In this paper I present a new perspective for interpreting the wavefunction as a non-material, non-epistemic, non-representational entity. I endorse a functional view according to which the wavefunction is defined by its roles in the theory. I argue that this approach shares some similarities with the nomological account of the wave function as well as with the pragmatist and epistemic approaches to quantum theory, while avoiding the major objections of these alternatives.
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  • Eliminating Spacetime.Sam Baron - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    A number of approaches to quantum gravity (QG) seem to imply that spacetime does not exist. Philosophers are quick to point out, however, that the loss of spacetime should not be regarded as total. Rather, we should interpret these approaches as ones that threaten the fundamentality but not the existence of spacetime. In this paper, I argue for two claims. First, I argue that spacetime realism is not forced by QG; spacetime eliminativism remains an option. Second, I argue that eliminativism (...)
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  • Quantum Gravity and Mereology: Not So Simple.Sam Baron & Baptiste Le Bihan - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly.
    A number of philosophers have argued in favour of extended simples on the grounds that they are needed by fundamental physics. The arguments typically appeal to theories of quantum gravity. To date, the argument in favour of extended simples has ignored the fact that the very existence of spacetime is put under pressure by quantum gravity. We thus consider the case for extended simples in the context of different views on the existence of spacetime. We show that the case for (...)
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  • Perceptual Illusionism.Brian Cutter - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Perceptual illusionism is the view that perceptual experience is, in general, radically illusory. That is, perceptual experience presents objects as having certain sensible properties and standing in certain sensible relations, but nothing in the subject’s environment has those properties or stands in those relations. This paper makes the case for perceptual illusionism by showing how a broad set of philosophical and scientific considerations converge to support illusionism about the full range of sensible properties and relations. After clarifying the illusionist thesis, (...)
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