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Can there be a process without time? Processualism within timeless physics

Margoni, Emilia (2022) Can there be a process without time? Processualism within timeless physics. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Process ontology is making deep inroads into the hard sciences. For it offers a workable understanding of dynamic phenomena which sits well with inquiries that problematize the traditional conception of self-standing, definite, independent objects as the basic stuff of the universe. Process-based approaches are claimed by their advocates to yield better ontological descriptions of various domains of physical reality in which dynamical, indefinite activities are prior to definite “things” or “states of things”. However, if applied to physics, a main problem comes up: the notion itself of process appears to pivot on a conception of evolution through time that is at variance with relativistic physics. Against this worry, this article advances a conception of process that can be reconciled with general relativity. It claims that, within timeless physical frameworks, a process should not be conceived as activities evolving through time. Rather, processes concern the identity that entities obtain within the broader sets of relations in which they stand. To make this case, the article homes in on one of the physical approaches that most resolutely removes time from the basic features of reality, that is, canonical quantum gravity. As a case in point, it addresses Carlo Rovelli’s Evolving Constant approach as a physical paradigm that resolutely rejects time as an absolute parameter and recasts processualism as an inquiry into how physical systems affect one another.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Margoni, Emiliaemilia.margoni@phd.unipi.it0000-0002-2556-1539
Keywords: evolving constant approach; process; relativistic physics; substance; timelessness.
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Depositing User: Dr. Emilia Margoni
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2022 04:25
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2022 04:25
Item ID: 20373
Journal or Publication Title: Forthcoming in "Foundations of Physics"
Publisher: Springer
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Date: 20 March 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20373

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