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The Geometry of Conventionality

Weatherall, James Owen and Manchak, John Byron (2013) The Geometry of Conventionality. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Hans Reichenbach famously argued that the geometry of spacetime is conventional in relativity theory, in the sense that one can freely choose the spacetime metric so long as one is willing to postulate a "universal force field". Here we make precise a sense in which the field Reichenbach defines fails to represent a "force field". We then argue that there is an interesting and perhaps tenable sense in which geometry is conventional in classical spacetimes. We conclude with a no-go result showing that the variety of conventionalism available in classical spacetimes does not extend to relativistic spacetimes.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Weatherall, James Owenweatherj@uci.edu
Manchak, John Byronmanchak@uw.edu
Keywords: Reichenbach; conventionality of geometry; geometrized Newtonian gravitation; general relativity; universal force field
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Conventionalism
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: James Owen Weatherall
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2013 08:26
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:26
Item ID: 9926
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Conventionalism
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: 2013
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9926

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