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Eliminating Spacetime

Erkenntnis (3):1-20 (2021)

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  1. Fundamental and Emergent Geometry in Newtonian Physics.David Wallace - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):1-32.
    Using as a starting point recent and apparently incompatible conclusions by Saunders and Knox, I revisit the question of the correct spacetime setting for Newtonian physics. I argue that understood correctly, these two versions of Newtonian physics make the same claims both about the background geometry required to define the theory, and about the inertial structure of the theory. In doing so I illustrate and explore in detail the view—espoused by Knox, and also by Brown —that inertial structure is defined (...)
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  • Parthood.Theodore Sider - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (1):51-91.
    There will be a few themes. One to get us going: expansion versus contraction. About an object, o, and the region, R, of space(time) in which o is exactly located,1 we may ask: i) must there exist expansions of o: objects in filled superregions2 of R? ii) must there exist contractions of o: objects in filled subregions of..
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  • Parthood and Location.Raul Saucedo - 2011 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 6.
    This chapter argues that from a particularly weak recombination principle and plausible assumptions about the nature of parthood and location, it follows that it is possible that the mereological structure of the material world and that of space-time fail to correspond to one another in very radical ways. The chapter suggests, moreover, that rejecting the possibility of such failures of correspondence leaves us with a choice of no less unappealing alternatives. It also discusses a few ways in which their possibility (...)
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  • Building the world from its fundamental constituents.L. A. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):221-256.
    In this paper, I argue that the spatiotemporalist approach way of modeling the fundamental constituents, structure, and composition of the world has taken a wrong turn. Spatiotemporalist approaches to fundamental structure take the fundamental nature of the world to be spatiotemporal: they take the category of spatiotemporal to be fundamental. I argue that the debates over the nature of the fundamental space in the physics show us that (i) the fact that it is conceivable that the manifest world could be (...)
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  • Finding the world in the wave function: some strategies for solving the macro-object problem.Alyssa Ney - 2020 - Synthese 197 (10):4227-4249.
    Realists wanting to capture the facts of quantum entanglement in a metaphysical interpretation find themselves faced with several options: to grant some species of fundamental nonseparability, adopt holism, or to view localized spacetime systems as ultimately reducible to a higher-dimensional entity, the quantum state or wave function. Those adopting the latter approach and hoping to view the macroscopic world as grounded in the quantum wave function face the macro-object problem. The challenge is to articulate the metaphysical relation obtaining between three-dimensional (...)
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  • Space Emergence in Contemporary Physics: Why We Do Not Need Fundamentality, Layers of Reality and Emergence.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Disputatio 10 (49):71-95.
    ‘Space does not exist fundamentally: it emerges from a more fundamental non-spatial structure.’ This intriguing claim appears in various research programs in contemporary physics. Philosophers of physics tend to believe that this claim entails either that spacetime does not exist, or that it is derivatively real. In this article, I introduce and defend a third metaphysical interpretation of the claim: reductionism about space. I argue that, as a result, there is no need to subscribe to fundamentality, layers of reality and (...)
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  • Priority Monism Beyond Spacetime.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (1):95-111.
    I will defend two claims. First, Schaffer's priority monism is in tension with many research programs in quantum gravity. Second, priority monism can be modified into a view more amenable to this physics. The first claim is grounded in the fact that promising approaches to quantum gravity such as loop quantum gravity or string theory deny the fundamental reality of spacetime. Since fundamental spacetime plays an important role in Schaffer's priority monism by being identified with the fundamental structure, namely the (...)
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  • Have we Lost Spacetime on the Way? Narrowing the Gap between General Relativity and Quantum Gravity.Baptiste Le Bihan & Niels Siegbert Linnemann - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 65 (C):112-121.
    Important features of space and time are taken to be missing in quantum gravity, allegedly requiring an explanation of the emergence of spacetime from non-spatio-temporal theories. In this paper, we argue that the explanatory gap between general relativity and non-spatio- temporal quantum gravity theories might significantly be reduced with two moves. First, we point out that spacetime is already partially missing in the context of general relativity when understood from a dynamical perspective. Second, we argue that most approaches to quantum (...)
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  • Spacetime functionalism from a realist perspective.Vincent Lam & Christian Wüthrich - 2020 - Synthese 199 (Suppl 2):1-19.
    In prior work, we have argued that spacetime functionalism provides tools for clarifying the conceptual difficulties specifically linked to the emergence of spacetime in certain approaches to quantum gravity. We argue in this article that spacetime functionalism in quantum gravity is radically different from other functionalist approaches that have been suggested in quantum mechanics and general relativity: in contrast to these latter cases, it does not compete with purely interpretative alternatives, but is rather intertwined with the physical theorizing itself at (...)
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  • Spacetime functionalism from a realist perspective.Vincent Lam & Christian Wüthrich - 2020 - Synthese 199 (S2):335-353.
    In prior work, we have argued that spacetime functionalism provides tools for clarifying the conceptual difficulties specifically linked to the emergence of spacetime in certain approaches to quantum gravity. We argue in this article that spacetime functionalism in quantum gravity is radically different from other functionalist approaches that have been suggested in quantum mechanics and general relativity: in contrast to these latter cases, it does not compete with purely interpretative alternatives, but is rather intertwined with the physical theorizing itself at (...)
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  • Spacetime is as spacetime does.Vincent Lam & Christian Wüthrich - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:39-51.
    Theories of quantum gravity generically presuppose or predict that the reality underlying relativistic spacetimes they are describing is significantly non-spatiotemporal. On pain of empirical incoherence, approaches to quantum gravity must establish how relativistic spacetime emerges from their non-spatiotemporal structures. We argue that in order to secure this emergence, it is sufficient to establish that only those features of relativistic spacetimes functionally relevant in producing empirical evidence must be recovered. In order to complete this task, an account must be given of (...)
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  • Emergent spacetime and empirical (in) coherence.Nick Huggett & Christian Wüthrich - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):276-285.
    Numerous approaches to a quantum theory of gravity posit fundamental ontologies that exclude spacetime, either partially or wholly. This situation raises deep questions about how such theories could relate to the empirical realm, since arguably only entities localized in spacetime can ever be observed. Are such entities even possible in a theory without fundamental spacetime? How might they be derived, formally speaking? Moreover, since by assumption the fundamental entities cannot be smaller than the derived and so cannot ‘compose’ them in (...)
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  • Using mereological principles to support metaphysics.Maureen Donnelly - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (243):225-246.
    Mereological principles are sometimes used to support general claims about the structure and arrangement of objects in the world. I focus initially on one such mereological principle, the weak supplementation principle (WSP). It is not obvious that (WSP) is prescribed by ordinary thinking about parthood. Further, (WSP) is not needed for a fairly strong formal characterization of the part–whole relation. For these reasons, some arguments relying on (WSP) might be countered by simply denying (WSP). I argue more generally that there (...)
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  • Inter-theory Relations in Quantum Gravity: Correspondence, Reduction and Emergence.Karen Crowther - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 63:74-85.
    Relationships between current theories, and relationships between current theories and the sought theory of quantum gravity (QG), play an essential role in motivating the need for QG, aiding the search for QG, and defining what would count as QG. Correspondence is the broad class of inter-theory relationships intended to demonstrate the necessary compatibility of two theories whose domains of validity overlap, in the overlap regions. The variety of roles that correspondence plays in the search for QG are illustrated, using examples (...)
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  • The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds.Jeffrey Alan Barrett - 1999 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
    Jeffrey Barrett presents the most comprehensive study yet of a problem that has puzzled physicists and philosophers since the 1930s.
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  • Parts of spacetime.Sam Baron - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (4):387-398.
    Consider the following pair of theses: all fundamental physical objects are spatiotemporal and all non-fundamental physical objects are ultimately composed of fundamental objects. Work on the physics of quantum gravity suggests that spacetime is a non-fundamental, emergent phenomenon and thus that thesis is false. The fundamentals are non-spatiotemporal in nature. This paper will argue against on the grounds that non-fundamental spatiotemporal objects cannot be composed of fundamental non-spatiotemporal objects. So, assuming that spacetime is emergent, new metaphysical resources are needed to (...)
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  • On the emergence of time in quantum gravity.Jeremy Butterfield & Chris Isham - 1999 - In The arguments of time. New York: Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press. pp. 111--168.
    We discuss from a philosophical perspective the way in which the normal concept of time might be said to `emerge' in a quantum theory of gravity. After an introduction, we briefly discuss the notion of emergence, without regard to time. We then introduce the search for a quantum theory of gravity ; and review some general interpretative issues about space, time and matter. We then discuss the emergence of time in simple quantum geometrodynamics, and in the Euclidean approach. Section 6 (...)
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  • Parthood and Location.Raul Saucedo - 2011 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 6. Oxford University Press UK.
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  • Raiders of the lost spacetime.Christian Wüthrich - 2017 - In D. Lehmkuhl, G. Schiemann & E. Scholz (eds.), Towards a Theory of Spacetime Theories. Basal.
    Spacetime as we know and love it is lost in most approaches to quantum gravity. For many of these approaches, as inchoate and incomplete as they may be, one of the main challenges is to relate what they take to be the fundamental non-spatiotemporal structure of the world back to the classical spacetime of GR. The present essay investigates how spacetime is lost and how it may be regained in one major approach to quantum gravity, loop quantum gravity.
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  • Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity.Sean M. Carroll - 2003 - San Francisco, USA: Pearson.
    Graduate-level textbook in general relativity.
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  • The emergence of space and time.Christian Wüthrich - 2018 - In Sophie Gibb, Robin Findlay Hendry & Tom Lancaster (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Emergence. New York: Routledge.
    Research in quantum gravity strongly suggests that our world in not fundamentally spatiotemporal, but that spacetime may only emerge in some sense from a non-spatiotemporal structure, as this paper illustrates in the case of causal set theory and loop quantum gravity. This would raise philosophical concerns regarding the empirical coherence and general adequacy of theories in quantum gravity. If it can be established, however, that spacetime emerges in the appropriate circumstances and how all its relevant aspects are explained in fundamental (...)
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  • The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 1999 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
    Jeffrey Barrett presents the most comprehensive study yet of a problem that has puzzled physicists and philosophers since the 1930s. The standard theory of quantum mechanics is in one sense the most successful physical theory ever, predicting the behaviour of the basic constituents of all physical things; no other theory has ever made such accurate empirical predictions. However, if one tries to understand the theory as providing a complete and accurate framework for the description of the behaviour of all physical (...)
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  • The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 1999 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
    Jeffrey Barrett presents the most comprehensive study yet of a problem that has puzzled physicists and philosophers since the 1930s. Quantum mechanics is in one sense the most successful physical theory ever, accurately predicting the behaviour of the basic constituents of matter. But it has an apparent ambiguity or inconsistency at its heart; Barrett gives a careful, clear, and challenging evaluation of attempts to deal with this problem.
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  • Parthood and location.Raul Saucedo - 2011 - In Dean Zimmerman & Karen Bennett (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 5. Oxford University Press.
    I argue that from a very weak recombination principle and plausible assumptions about the nature of parthood and location it follows that it's possible that the mereological structure of the material world and that of spacetime fail to correspond to one another in very radical ways. I defend, moreover, that rejecting the possibility of such failures of correspondence leaves us with a choice of equally radical alternatives. I also discuss a few ways in which their possibility is relevant to various (...)
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  • Thinking about Spacetime.David Yates - 2021 - In Christian Wüthrich, Baptiste Le Bihan & Nick Huggett (eds.), Philosophy Beyond Spacetime. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Several different quantum gravity research programmes suggest, for various reasons, that spacetime is not part of the fundamental ontology of physics. This gives rise to the problem of empirical coherence: if fundamental physical entities do not occupy spacetime or instantiate spatiotemporal properties, how can fundamental theories concerning those entities be justified by observation of spatiotemporally located things like meters, pointers and dials? I frame the problem of empirical coherence in terms of entailment: how could a non-spatiotemporal fundamental theory entail spatiotemporal (...)
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  • Finding Space in a Nonspatial World.David J. Chalmers - 2021 - In Christian Wüthrich, Baptiste Le Bihan & Nick Huggett (eds.), Philosophy Beyond Spacetime. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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