Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar (Friday - Week 5, HT21)

philosophy of physics grad lunch seminar

Earman and Norton's 1987 Hole Argument attacks the substantivalist view that spacetime points exist, contending that substantivalists are radical indeterminists. In this talk, I propose a dilemmatic solution: either substantivalists have independent reason to adopt a minimal constraint on the literal interpretation of a theory which rules out radical indeterminism, or else they have no reason to resist radical indeterminism. I sketch a congruent dilemma regarding the nature of symmetries in physical theories: either philosophers should disambiguate two classes of symmetry, or else they have no reason to resist a single epistemic definition of symmetry. Which horn you fall on in the first dilemma informs the second, and vice versa. This has implications for the interpretation of symmetries.


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