On the Cartesian Ontology of General Relativity: Or, Conventionalism in the History of the Substantival‐Relational Debate

Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1312-1323 (2005)
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Utilizing Einstein’s comparison of General Relativity and Descartes’ physics, this investigation explores the alleged conventionalism that pervades the ontology of substantival and relationist conceptions of spacetime. Although previously discussed, namely by Rynasiewicz and Hoefer, it will be argued that the close similarities between General Relativity and Cartesian physics have not been adequately treated in the literature—and that the disclosure of these similarities bolsters the case for a conventionalist interpretation of spacetime ontology.
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