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General Covariance and the Objectivity of Space-Time Point-Events: The Physical Role of Gravitational and Gauge Degrees of Freedom - DRAFT

Lusanna, Luca and Pauri, Massimo (2002) General Covariance and the Objectivity of Space-Time Point-Events: The Physical Role of Gravitational and Gauge Degrees of Freedom - DRAFT. [Preprint]


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This paper deals with a number of technical achievements that are instrumental for a dis-solution of the so-called "Hole Argument" in general relativity. Such achievements include: 1) the analysis of the "Hole" phenomenology in strict connection with the Hamiltonian treatment of the initial value problem. The work is carried through in metric gravity for the class of Christoudoulou-Klainermann space-times, in which the temporal evolution is ruled by the "weak" ADM energy; 2) a re-interpretation of "active" diffeomorphisms as "passive and metric-dependent" dynamical symmetries of Einstein's equations, a re-interpretation which enables to disclose their (up to now unknown) connection to gauge transformations on-shell; understanding such connection also enlightens the real content of the Hole Argument or, better, dis-solves it together with its alleged "indeterminism"; 3) the utilization of the Bergmann-Komar "intrinsic pseudo-coordinates", defined as suitable functionals of the Weyl curvature scalars, as tools for a peculiar gauge-fixing to the super-hamiltonian and super-momentum constraints; 4) the consequent construction of a "physical atlas" of 4-coordinate systems for the 4-dimensional "mathematical" manifold, in terms of the highly non-local degrees of freedom of the gravitational field (its four independent "Dirac observables"). Such construction embodies the "physical individuation" of the points of space-time as "point-events", independently of the presence of matter, and associates a "non-commutative structure" to each gauge fixing or four-dimensional coordinate system; 5) a clarification of the multiple definition given by Peter Bergmann of the concept of "(Bergmann) observable" in general relativity. This clarification leads to the proposal of a "main conjecture" asserting the existence of i) special Dirac's observables which are also Bergmann's observables, ii) gauge variables that are coordinate independent (namely they behave like the tetradic scalar fields of the Newman-Penrose formalism). A by-product of this achievements is the falsification of a recently advanced argument asserting the absence of (any kind of) "change" in the observable quantities of general relativity. 6) a clarification of the physical role of Dirac and gauge variables as their being related to "tidal-like" and "inertial-like" effects, respectively. This clarification is mainly due to the fact that, unlike the standard formulations of the equivalence principle, the Hamiltonian formalism allows to define notion of "force" in general relativity in a natural way; 7) a proposal showing how the physical individuation of point-events could in principle be implemented as an experimental setup and protocol leading to a "standard of space-time" more or less like atomic clocks define standards of time. We conclude that, besides being operationally essential for building measuring apparatuses for the gravitational field, the role of matter in the non-vacuum gravitational case is also that of "participating directly" in the individuation process, being involved in the determination of the Dirac observables. This circumstance leads naturally to a peculiar new kind of "structuralist" view of the general-relativistic concept of space-time, a view that embodies some elements of both the traditional "absolutist" and "relational" conceptions. In the end, space-time point-events maintain a "peculiar sort of objectivity". Some hints following from our approach for the quantum gravity programme are also given.

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Item Type: Preprint
Lusanna, Luca
Pauri, Massimo
Keywords: General relativity, Individuation, Gauges, Observables, Change, Dirac, Bergmann
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Prof. Massimo Pauri
Date Deposited: 31 Dec 2002
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:11
Item ID: 959
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: December 2002

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