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Relationism Rehabilitated? II: Relativity

Pooley, Oliver (2001) Relationism Rehabilitated? II: Relativity. [Preprint]


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In a companion paper (Pooley & Brown 2001) it is argued that Julian Barbour's Machian approach to dynamics provides a genuinely relational interpretation of Newtonian dynamics and that it is more explanatory than the conventional, substantival interpretation. In this paper the extension of the approach to relativistic physics is considered. General relativity, it turns out, can be reinterpreted as a perfectly Machian theory. However, there are difficulties with viewing the Machian interpretation as more fundamental than the conventional, spacetime interpretation. Moreover, this state of affairs provides little solace for the relationist for, even when interpreted along Machian lines, general relativity is a substantival theory although the basic entity is space, not spacetime.

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Item Type: Preprint
Pooley, Oliver
Keywords: relationism, substantivalism, space, spacetime, geometrodynamics, Barbour, Belot, Earman
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Oliver Pooley
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2001
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:10
Item ID: 221
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: March 2001

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