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Spacetime: Function and Approximation

Baron, Sam (2021) Spacetime: Function and Approximation. [Preprint]


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Several approaches to quantum gravity (QG) signal the loss of spacetime at some level. According to spacetime functionalism, spacetime is functionally realised by a more fundamental structure. According to one version of spacetime functionalism, the spacetime role is specified by Ramsifying general relativity (GR). In some approaches to QG, however, there does not appear to be anything that exactly realises the functional role defined by a Ramsey sentence for GR. The spacetime role is approximately realised. It is open to the spacetime functionalist to adopt a `near enough is good enough' attitude to functional realisation, and maintain that spacetime is functionally realised nonetheless. In this paper I present a challenge for such an `approximate' spacetime functionalism. The challenge, in brief, is to provide an account of how `close' is close enough for approximate realisation to occur. I canvass a range of options for spelling out a similarity relation of the relevant kind, and argue that none are successful. In light of the challenge, I recommend giving up on the functional realisation of spacetime. I argue, however, that even if spacetime as a whole is not functionally realised, some of the functions of spacetime may still be performed.

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Item Type: Preprint
Baron, Sam0000-0003-4000-3276
Keywords: spacetime, functionalism, quantum gravity, realisation, approximation
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Depositing User: Dr Samuel Baron
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2021 04:58
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2021 04:58
Item ID: 19823
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Date: 8 November 2021

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