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Background Independence, Diffeomorphism Invariance, and the Meaning of Coordinates

Pooley, Oliver (2015) Background Independence, Diffeomorphism Invariance, and the Meaning of Coordinates. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Diffeomorphism invariance is sometimes taken to be a criterion of background independence. This claim is commonly accompanied by a second, that the genuine physical magnitudes (the ``observables'') of background-independent theories and those of background-dependent (non-diffeomorphism-invariant) theories are essentially different in nature. I argue against both claims. Background-dependent theories can be formulated in a diffeomorphism-invariant manner. This suggests that the nature of the physical magnitudes of relevantly analogous theories (one background free, the other background dependent) is essentially the same. The temptation to think otherwise stems from a misunderstanding of the meaning of spacetime coordinates in background-dependent theories.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
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Pooley, Oliver
Additional Information: To appear in Lehmkuhl (ed), Towards a Theory of Spacetime Theories, forthcoming in the Einstein Studies Series (Boston: Birkäuser). Please cite the published version.
Keywords: General Covariance; Diffeomorphism Invariance; Background Independence
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Oliver Pooley
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2015 13:18
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2015 13:18
Item ID: 11504
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: June 2015
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11504

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