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The Relevance of Irrelevance: Absolute Objects and the Jones-Geroch Dust Velocity Counterexample, with a Note on Spinors

Pitts, J. Brian (2005) The Relevance of Irrelevance: Absolute Objects and the Jones-Geroch Dust Velocity Counterexample, with a Note on Spinors. [Preprint]

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Abstract

James L. Anderson analyzed the conceptual novelty of Einstein's theory of gravity as its lack of ``absolute objects.'' Michael Friedman's related concept of absolute objects has been criticized by Roger Jones and Robert Geroch for implausibly admitting as absolute the timelike 4-velocity field of dust in cosmological models in Einstein's theory. Using Nathan Rosen's action principle, I complete Anna Maidens's argument that the Jones-Geroch problem is not solved by requiring that absolute objects not be varied. Recalling Anderson's proscription of (globally) ``irrelevant'' variables that do no work (anywhere in any model), I generalize that proscription to locally irrelevant variables that do no work in some places in some models. This move vindicates Friedman's intuitions and removes the Jones-Geroch counterexample: some regions of some models of gravity with dust are dust-free, and there is no good reason to have a timelike dust 4-velocity vector there. Eliminating the irrelevant timelike vctors keeps the dust 4-velocity from counting as absolute by spoiling its neighborhood-by-neighborhood diffeomorphic equivalence to (1,0,0,0). A more fundamental Gerochian timelike vector field presents itself in gravity with spinors in the standard orthonormal tetrad formalism, though eliminating irrelevant fields might solve this problem as well.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Pitts, J. Brian
Keywords: absolute object, general covariance, dust, spinor, parametrized
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Depositing User: Dr. Dr. J. Brian Pitts
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2005
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:10
Item ID: 482
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/482

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