Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar (Wednesday - Week 4, MT20)

philosophy of physics grad lunch seminar

Priority super-substantivalism is the idea that (1) the physical properties that usually we attribute to matter (e.g. charge or mass) can be attributed to spacetime directly, with no need for matter as an extraneous carrier on top of spacetime; and (2) that spacetime is more fundamental than (ontologically prior to) matter. In the present paper, we revisit a recent argument in favour of super-substantivalism, based on General Relativity. A critique is offered that highlights the difference between (various accounts of) fundamentality and (various forms of) ontological dependence. This affords a metaphysically more perspicuous view of what super-substantivalism’s tenets actually assert, and how it may be defended. In fact, we tentatively propose a re-formulation of the original argument that not only seems to apply to all classical physics, but also chimes with a standard interpretation of spacetime theories in the philosophy of physics (viz. the so-called geometric approach to spacetime).

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