Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar (Monday - Week 4, TT22)

philosophy of physics grad lunch seminar

In this talk, I will discuss connections and differences between the hole argument in general relativity and Putnam's paradox against metaphysical realism. There are clear similarities between the two arguments, with a failure of determination leading to an argument for the elimination of extraneous structure. However, I will argue against claims from Rynasiewicz and Liu that the hole argument is a specific case of Putnam's paradox, with the latter underlining a more pervasive level of indeterminism than the hole argument. In any case, they have been responded to in similar ways through meta-linguistic means. While Bas Van Fraassen claims that Putnam’s paradox dissolves due to our inability to identify a function mapping our theories to objects in the world that is independent of our own language, James Weatherall believes that the language of GR does not allow for the hole argument to be formulated. I will argue that these solutions, while similar, have subtle differences; neither are particularly persuasive as solutions to their respective problems.

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Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar Convenor: Daniel Grimmer