On the Ontology of Spacetime: Substantivalism, Relationism, Eternalism, and Emergence

Foundations of Science 22 (1):141-159 (2017)
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I present a discussion of some issues in the ontology of spacetime. After a characterisation of the controversies among relationists, substantivalists, eternalists, and presentists, I offer a new argument for rejecting presentism, the doctrine that only present objects exist. Then, I outline and defend a form of spacetime realism that I call event substantivalism. I propose an ontological theory for the emergence of spacetime from more basic entities. Finally, I argue that a relational theory of pre-geometric entities can give rise to substantival spacetime in such a way that relationism and substantivalism are not necessarily opposed positions, but rather complementary. In an appendix I give axiomatic formulations of my ontological views.
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