# Geometric objects and perspectivalism

Read, James (2021) Geometric objects and perspectivalism. [Preprint]

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## Abstract

The purpose of this article is to consider the metaphysics of geometric and non-geometric objects as they appear in physical theories such as general relativity, and the interactions between these considerations and the contemporary doctrines of perspectivalism and fragmentalism in the philosophy of science. I argue for the following: (i) Taking (following Quine) a kind's being associated with a projectable predicate as a necessary condition for its being \emph{natural}, there is a sense in which geometric objects can be assimilated to natural kinds, but non-geometric objects cannot; this affords a rational reconstruction of philosophers' and physicists' suspicion of the latter (although this verdict can also be questioned). (ii) Even granting this, non-geometric objects can nevertheless represent real quantities \emph{in a perspectival sense}---this is one way in which the doctrine of perspectival realism can be endorsed. (iii) More than this: the recognition that non-geometric objects can represent real quantities in a perspectival sense affords support for fragmentalism: the view (at least in part) that frame-dependent effects are physically real. That being said, there are arguments to be made that perspectivalism is superior to this fragmentalism. (iv) There is a certain sense in which perspectivalism should be congenial to proponents of the dynamical approach' to spacetime theories---however, the pairing is, in fact, imperfect. (v) Endorsing perspectivalism/fragmentalism in this sense does not commit one to endorsing related---but arguably more opaque---structuralist' views.

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Item Type: Preprint
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CreatorsEmailORCID
Keywords: Geometric objects; natural kinds; perspectival realism; pseudotensors; gravitational energy; fragmentalism; dynamical approach
Subjects: General Issues > Natural Kinds
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2021 14:25
Item ID: 18911
Subjects: General Issues > Natural Kinds
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 15 April 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18911