Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar (Friday - Week 8, TT21)

philosophy of physics grad lunch seminar

In spacetime theories it is generally possible to identify some set of geometrical structures which can be understood, prima facie, as the arena in which physical events occur. Intuitively, spacetime structure is identified as the collection of (at least) the manifold (whose points are the mathematical equivalents of physical point-like events) as well a metric structure and its associated differential structure. In GR, however, the metric field is but one dynamical field amongst many such fields. Given that we cannot solely define spacetime structure as background structure (as is possible in SR) it is then necessary to determine a demarcation criterion for a field to be part of the spacetime structure. 

I will argue, from considerations in SR and GR, that one should disavow a Geometrical position that deems chronogeometric significance a necessary quality. Nonetheless, there is a geometrical view (which I will deem Nomological Geometricism) which is able to tackle the inherent issues with the traditional geometrical view but is favoured over Dynamicism. I substantiate the position with a Maudlinian thesis about laws of nature as entities over and above codifications of all the happenings and accidental behaviour patterns in the world and considerations about explanation and scientific practice. 

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Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar Convenor: Caspar Jacobs