Geometry, Fields, and Spacetime

Geometry, Fields, and Spacetime Abstract I present an argument against a relational theory of spacetime that regards spacetime as a ‘structural quality of the field’. The argument takes the form of a trilemma. To make the argument, I focus on relativistic worlds in which there exist just two fields, an electromagnetic field and a gravitational field. Then there are three options: either spacetime is a structural quality of each field separately, both fields together, or one field but not the other. I argue that the first option founders on a problem of geometric coordination and that the second and third options collapse into substantivalism. In particular, on the third option it becomes clear that the relationalist’s path to Leibniz equivalence is no simpler or more straightforward than the substantivalist’s. © The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Oxford University Press

Geometry, Fields, and Spacetime

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com
ISSN
0007-0882
eISSN
1464-3537
D.O.I.
10.1093/bjps/axy002
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract I present an argument against a relational theory of spacetime that regards spacetime as a ‘structural quality of the field’. The argument takes the form of a trilemma. To make the argument, I focus on relativistic worlds in which there exist just two fields, an electromagnetic field and a gravitational field. Then there are three options: either spacetime is a structural quality of each field separately, both fields together, or one field but not the other. I argue that the first option founders on a problem of geometric coordination and that the second and third options collapse into substantivalism. In particular, on the third option it becomes clear that the relationalist’s path to Leibniz equivalence is no simpler or more straightforward than the substantivalist’s. © The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com

Journal

The British Journal for the Philosophy of ScienceOxford University Press

Published: Jan 22, 2018

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