# Spacetime Emergence: Collapsing the Distinction Between Content and Context?

Crowther, Karen (2022) Spacetime Emergence: Collapsing the Distinction Between Content and Context? [Preprint]

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## Abstract

Several approaches to developing a theory of quantum gravity suggest that spacetime—as described by general relativity—is not fundamental. Instead, spacetime is supposed to be explained by reference to the relations between more fundamental entities, analogous to atoms' of spacetime, which themselves are not (fully) spatiotemporal. Such a case may be understood as emergence of \textit{content}: a hierarchical' case of emergence, where spacetime emerges at a higher', or less-fundamental, level than its lower-level' non-spatiotempral basis. But quantum gravity cosmology also presents us with the possibility of emergence of \textit{context}: where spacetime emerges from some prior' non-spatiotemporal state (replacing the Big Bang), due to particular conditions in the early universe. I present a general conception of emergence which is plausibly able to accommodate both pictures. This is a positive conception that does not rely on a failure of reduction or explanation in any sense (indeed, reduction is a necessary feature of quantum gravity, and is useful in understanding emergence in this case). I also consider the possibility that the distinction between content- and context- based explanations is blurred, or usefully collapsed', in the case of spacetime emergence.

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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Crowther, Karenkaren.crowther@ifikk.uio.no0000-0003-1558-4814
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Dr. Karen Crowther
Date Deposited: 21 May 2022 03:49
Item ID: 20634
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-92192-7_22
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: 9 April 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20634