Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar (Monday - Week 4, HT20)

philosophy of physics grad lunch seminar

The debate on the nature of spacetime is one of the most vividly discussed topics in philosophy of physics. It offers two main classes of views: relationalism and substantivalism. Earman and Norton (1987) famously argued that the hole argument should lead to the denial of the latter. In my talk I would like to show that the moral from this reasoning is different: namely that it evidences our ontological ignorance and avoiding the question about the nature of spatiotemporal points. This observation would lead to the main point of this talk: that there are two related, but distinct lines of the discussion on the nature of spacetime that are usually confused in the literature. One corresponds to the level of formalism and another one to postulated ontology. That conclusion would be crucial in suggesting the final, complete description of the nature of spacetime that seems to be the most plausible due to our best physical theories.