A proposal for a metaphysics of self-subsisting structures. I. Classical physics

Synthese 200 (5):1-32 (2022)
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Abstract

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 framework are preserved through theory change. The kinematics and dynamics of these self-subsisting structures are technically implemented using the theoretical framework of Pure Shape Dynamics, which provides a completely relational physical description of a system in terms of the intrinsic geometry of a suitably defined space called shape space.

Author Profiles

Tim Koslowski
University of W├╝rzburg
Antonio Vassallo
Warsaw University of Technology

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