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Machian Comparativism about Mass

Martens, Niels C.M. (2019) Machian Comparativism about Mass. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. ISSN 1464-3537

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Abstract

Absolutism about mass within Newtonian Gravity claims that mass ratios obtain in virtue of absolute masses. Comparativism denies this. Defenders of comparativism promise to recover all the empirical and theoretical virtues of absolutism, but at a lower `metaphysical cost'. This paper develops a Machian form of comparativism about mass in Newtonian Gravity, obtained by replacing Newton's constant in the law of Universal Gravitation by another constant divided by the sum over all masses. Although this form of comparativism is indeed empirically equivalent to the absolutist version of Newtonian Gravity---thereby meeting the challenge posed by the comparativist's bucket argument---it is argued that the explanatory power and metaphysical parsimony of comparativism (and especially its Machian form) are highly questionable.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Martens, Niels C.M.martensniels@gmail.com0000-0002-2839-1387
Keywords: Mass - Comparativism - Absolutism - Quantities - Newtonian Gravity
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr Niels C.M. Martens
Date Deposited: 12 May 2019 02:02
Last Modified: 12 May 2019 02:02
Item ID: 16003
Journal or Publication Title: The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/bjps/advance-article-abst...
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 9 May 2019
ISSN: 1464-3537
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16003

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