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Against the disappearance of spacetime in quantum gravity

Esfeld, Michael (2019) Against the disappearance of spacetime in quantum gravity. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper argues against the proposal to draw from current research into a physical theory of quantum gravity the ontological conclusion that spacetime or spatiotemporal relations are not fundamental. As things stand, the status of this proposal is like the one of all the other claims about radical changes in ontology that were made during the development of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. However, none of these claims held up to scrutiny as a consequence of the physics once the theory was established and a serious discussion about its ontology had begun. Furthermore, the paper argues that if spacetime is to be recovered through a functionalist procedure in a theory that admits no fundamental spacetime, standard functionalism cannot serve as a model: all the known functional definitions are definitions in terms of a causal role for the motion of physical objects and hence presuppose spatiotemporal relations.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Esfeld, MichaelMichael-Andreas.Esfeld@unil.ch
Keywords: quantum gravity; functionalism; quantum mechanics; quantum field theory; general relativity theory; measurement problem; primitive ontology; Bohmian mechanics; shape dynamics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Michael Esfeld
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2019 15:33
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2019 15:33
Item ID: 15809
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: 26 February 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15809

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