PhilSci Archive

Absolute representations and modern physics

Jacobs, Caspar and Read, James (2024) Absolute representations and modern physics. [Preprint]


Download (558kB) | Preview


Famously, Adrian Moore has argued that absolute representations of reality are possible: that it is possible to represent reality from no particular point of view. Moreover, Moore believes that absolute representations are a desideratum of physics. Recently, however, debates in the philosophy of physics have arisen regarding the apparent impossibility of absolute representations of certain aspects of nature in light of our current best theories of physics. Throughout this article, we take gravitational energy as a particular case study of an aspect of nature that seemingly does not admit of an absolute representation. There is, therefore, a prima facie tension between Moore's a priori case on the one hand, and the state-of-play in modern physics on the other. This article overcomes this tension by demonstrating how, when formulated in the correct way, modern physics admits of an absolute representation of gravitational energy after all. In so doing, the article offers a detailed case study of Moore's argument for absolute representations, clarifying its structure and bringing it into contact with the distinction drawn by philosophers of physics between coordinate-freedom and coordinate-independence, as well as the philosophy of spacetime physics.

Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Jacobs, Casparc.a.jacobs@phil.leidenuniv.nl0000-0001-6903-0468
Keywords: Absolute representations, general relativity, energy conservation, pseduotensors, frame bundle, geometric objects
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr. James Read
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2024 15:00
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2024 15:00
Item ID: 23520
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 3 June 2024

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item