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On Representational Capacities, with an Application to General Relativity

Fletcher, Samuel C. (2018) On Representational Capacities, with an Application to General Relativity. Foundations of Physics, 50 (4). pp. 228-249. ISSN 0015-9018

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Abstract

Recent work on the hole argument in general relativity by Weatherall (2016b) has drawn attention to the neglected concept of (mathematical) models' representational capacities. I argue for several theses about the structure of these capacities, including that they should be understood not as many-to-one relations from models to the world, but in general as many-to-many relations constrained by the models' isomorphisms. I then compare these ideas with a recent argument by Belot (2017) for the claim that some isometries "generate new possibilities" in general relativity. Philosophical orthodoxy, by contrast, denies this. Properly understanding the role of representational capacities, I argue, reveals how Belot’s rejection of orthodoxy does not go far enough, and makes better sense of our practices in theorizing about spacetime.


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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 a postprint version, i.e., pre-copyediting. Final version published in 2020.
Keywords: Representation, Isomorphism, Hole Argument, General Relativity
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Prof. Samuel C. Fletcher
Date Deposited: 26 May 2020 22:48
Last Modified: 26 May 2020 22:48
Item ID: 17231
Journal or Publication Title: Foundations of Physics
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/ s10701-018-0208-6
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: 14 February 2018
Page Range: pp. 228-249
Volume: 50
Number: 4
ISSN: 0015-9018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17231

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