A Metaphysical Reflection on the Notion of Background in Modern Spacetime Physics

Antonio Vassallo

Abstract

The paper presents a metaphysical characterization of spatiotemporal backgrounds from a realist perspective. The conceptual analysis is based on a heuristic sketch that encompasses the common formal traits of the major spacetime theories, such as Newtonian mechanics and general relativity. It is shown how this framework can be interpreted in a fully realist fashion, and what is the role of background structures in such a picture. In the end it is argued that, although backgrounds are a source of metaphysical discomfort, still they make a spacetime theory easy to interpret. It is also suggested that this conclusion partially explains why the notion of background independence carries a lot of conceptual difficulties.
Author Antonio Vassallo (FASS / DPEA | FASS)
Antonio Vassallo,,
- Department of Philosophy and Ethics in Administration
Pages349-365
Publication size in sheets0.8
Book Felline Laura, Ledda Antonio, Paoli Francesco, Rossanese Emanuele (eds.): New Directions in Logic and the Philosophy of Science, The SILFS series , vol. 3, 2016, College Publications, ISBN 978-1-84890-160-5, 380 p.
Keywords in EnglishBackground structure; spacetime theory; nomic necessity; dynamical sameness; principle of reciprocity; substantive general covariance; background independence.
URL https://www.collegepublications.co.uk/silfs/?00029
Languageen angielski
Not used for evaluationyes
Score (nominal)0
Citation count*1 (2020-08-20)
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