Supporting abstract relational space-time as fundamental without doctrinism against emergence


The present paper aims to contribute to the substantivalism versus relationalism debate and to defend general relativity (GR) against pseudoscientific attacks in a novel, especially inclusive way. This work was initially motivated by the desire to establish the incompatibility of any ether theories with accelerated cosmic expansion and inflation (motto: where would a hypothetical medium supposedly come from so fast?). The failure of this program is of interest for emergent GR concepts in high energy particle physics. However, it becomes increasingly important to guard scientific results against their misrepresentation by fundamentally anti-scientific agendas. We therefore argue that although it is not known whether the perceived space-time is fundamental (rather than a condensed state or a particular membrane), in a fundamental theory, space-time must be abstract relational: fundamental space-time is the consistent spatial-temporal arrangement of events. To pursue its own goals, this work should be accessible to a wide audience: physicists, philosophers of science, those being tempted by anti-relativity theories, but also those who vigorously defend some orthodox relativity that is not actually supported by GR. It must thus be extensive in order to satisfy the different parties’ desire to have included and understood their respective positions.

Author's Profile

Sascha Vongehr
NanJing University


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