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Against Laplacian Reduction of Newtonian Mass to Spatiotemporal Quantities

Martens, Niels C M (2018) Against Laplacian Reduction of Newtonian Mass to Spatiotemporal Quantities. Foundations of Physics. ISSN 1572-9516

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Abstract

Laplace wondered about the minimal choice of initial variables and parameters corresponding to a well-posed initial value problem. Discussions of Laplace's problem in the literature have focused on choosing between spatiotemporal variables relative to absolute space (i.e. substantivalism) or merely relative to other material bodies (i.e. relationalism) and between absolute masses (i.e. absolutism) or merely mass ratios (i.e. comparativism). This paper extends these discussions of Laplace's problem, in the context of Newtonian Gravity, by asking whether mass needs to be included in the initial state at all, or whether a purely spatiotemporal initial state suffices. It is argued that mass indeed needs to be included; removing mass from the initial state drastically reduces the predictive and explanatory power of Newtonian Gravity.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Martens, Niels C Mmartens@physik.rwth-aachen.de0000-0002-2839-1387
Keywords: Mass, Newtonian Gravity, reduction, Laplace, Mach
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Dr Niels C M Martens
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2018 21:21
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2018 21:21
Item ID: 14462
Journal or Publication Title: Foundations of Physics
Publisher: Springer
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10701-018-0149-0
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s10701-018-0149-0
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: 14 March 2018
ISSN: 1572-9516
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14462

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