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The limitations of inertial frame spacetime functionalism

Read, James and Menon, Tushar (2019) The limitations of inertial frame spacetime functionalism. [Preprint]

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Abstract

For Knox, ‘spacetime’ is to be defined functionally, as that which picks out a structure of local inertial frames. Assuming that Knox is motivated to construct this functional definition of spacetime on the grounds that it appears to identify that structure which plays the operational role of spacetime—i.e., that structure which is actually surveyed by physical rods and clocks built from matter fields—we identify in this paper important limitations of her approach: these limitations are based upon the fact that there is a gap between inertial frame structure and that which is operationally significant in the above sense. We present five concrete cases in which these two notions come apart, before considering various ways in which Knox’s spacetime functionalism might be amended in light of these issues.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Read, Jamesjames.read@philosophy.ox.ac.uk
Menon, Tushartushar.menon@philosophy.ox.ac.uk
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Synthese.
Keywords: Spacetime functionalism; theoretical spacetime; operational spacetime; dynamical approach
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr. James Read
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2019 18:17
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 18:17
Item ID: 16141
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 20 June 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16141

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