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Which Worldlines Represent Possible Particle Histories?

Fletcher, Samuel C. (2019) Which Worldlines Represent Possible Particle Histories? Foundations of Physics, 50 (6). pp. 582-599. ISSN 0015-9018

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Abstract

Based on three common interpretive commitments in general relativity, I raise a conceptual problem for the usual identification, in that theory, of timelike curves as those that represent the possible histories of (test) particles in spacetime. This problem affords at least three different solutions, depending on different representational and ontological assumptions one makes about the nature of (test) particles, fields, and their modal structure. While I advocate for a cautious pluralism regarding these options, I also suggest that re-interpreting (test) particles as field processes offers the most promising route for natural integration with the physics of material phenomena, including quantum theory.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Fletcher, Samuel C.scfletch@umn.edu0000-0002-9061-8976
Additional Information: This is the postprint version: after final peer review but before copyediting. Final version published in 2020.
Keywords: General relativity, Closed timelike curves, Particle ontology, Field ontology, Event ontology, Process ontology
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Prof. Samuel C. Fletcher
Date Deposited: 26 May 2020 22:27
Last Modified: 26 May 2020 22:27
Item ID: 17223
Journal or Publication Title: Foundations of Physics
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s10701-019-00260-4
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: 5 April 2019
Page Range: pp. 582-599
Volume: 50
Number: 6
ISSN: 0015-9018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17223

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