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Constructive Axiomatics in Spacetime Physics Part II: Constructive Axiomatics in Context

Adlam, Emily and Linnemann, Niels and Read, James (2022) Constructive Axiomatics in Spacetime Physics Part II: Constructive Axiomatics in Context. [Preprint]


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The Ehlers-Pirani-Schild (EPS) constructive axiomatisation of general relativity, published in 1972, purports to build up the kinematical structure of that theory from only axioms which have indubitable empirical content. It is, therefore, of profound significance both to the epistemology and to the metaphysics of spacetime theories. In this article, we set the EPS approach in its proper context, by (a) discussing the history of constructive approaches to spacetime theories in the lead-up to EPS; (b) addressing some of the major concerns raised against EPS; (c) considering how EPS compares with `chronometric' approaches to affording the metric field of general relativity its operational significance; (d) distinguishing quite generally between different kinds of constructive approach, and fitting EPS into this classification; (e) discussing how constructivism bears on a number of other issues in the foundations of physics; and (f) assessing the merits of constructivism qua local foundationalist project. There are two companion papers, in which we provide a pedagogical walkthrough to the EPS axiomatisation (Part I), and discuss/develop versions of EPS with quantum mechanical inputs (Part III).

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Item Type: Preprint
Linnemann, Nielsnielslinnemann@aol.com0000-0002-3695-8611
Additional Information: Critical feedback welcome!
Keywords: Constructive axiomatics, general relativity, constructivism, clocks
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Dr. James Read
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2022 14:10
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 14:10
Item ID: 21387
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: 6 November 2022

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