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