The metaphysics of Machian frame-dragging

In Claus Beisbart, Tilman Sauer & Christian Wüthrich (eds.), Thinking About Space and Time: 100 Years of Applying and Interpreting General Relativity. Cham: Birkhäuser (2020)
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Abstract

The paper investigates the kind of dependence relation that best portrays Machian frame-dragging in general relativity. The question is tricky because frame-dragging relates local inertial frames to distant distributions of matter in a time-independent way, thus establishing some sort of non-local link between the two. For this reason, a plain causal interpretation of frame-dragging faces huge challenges. The paper will shed light on the issue by using a generalized structural equation model analysis in terms of manipulationist counterfactuals recently applied in the context of metaphysical enquiry by Schaffer (2016) and Wilson (2017). The verdict of the analysis will be that frame-dragging is best understood in terms of a novel type of dependence relation that is half-way between causation and grounding.

Author Profiles

Antonio Vassallo
Warsaw University of Technology
Carl Hoefer
Universitat de Barcelona

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