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Comparisons of gravitational theories and the structures they posit have a long and fruitful history in the philosophy of physics literature. Studying the relation between General Relativity (GR) and Newton-Cartan theory (NCT), for example, has been a valuable means to deepen our understanding of the ontology and structures each theory posits. Simi...

Philosophy of Physics - space and timeSymposium

The spin-2 view on GR has been extremely influential in the particle physics community, including for the development of string theory. Leaving no doubt on its heuristic value, we argue that a foundationalist spin-2 view of GR, as often tacitly taken up as well, runs into a dilemma: either the spin-2 view is physically incoherent, or it leads to an...

Philosophy of Physics - space and timeContributed Papers

Leibnizian metaphysics underpins the near universally held view that spacetime must be inextendible – that it must be “as large as it can be” in a sense. But here we demonstrate a surprising fact within the context of general relativity: the property of inextendibility turns out to be “unstable” when attention is restricted to certain col...

Philosophy of Physics - space and timeContributed Papers

I will discuss attempts to modify Einstein’s theory of General Relativity to explain current observational puzzles in cosmology. Focusing on the late-time acceleration of the universe, I will discuss guiding principles in modifying General Relativity, the theoretical issues that arise, and the fundamental problem of distinguishing such approaches...

Philosophy of Physics - space and timeSymposium

Shifts are a well-known feature of the literature on spacetime symmetries. Recently, discussions have focused on so-called dynamic shifts, which by analogy with static and kinematic shifts enact arbitrary linear accelerations of all matter (as well as a change in the gravitational potential). But in mathematical formulations of these shifts, the an...

Philosophy of Physics - space and timeContributed Papers

Alternatives to General Relativity (GR) are often superficially similar to GR itself, leading some physicists to take for granted that their shared structure has the same interpretation in all cases. However, following Brown (2005), several philosophers have argued that such superficial similarities between GR and modified theories of gravity do no...

Philosophy of Physics - space and timeSymposium

My talk will revisit the foundations of Teleparallel Gravity (TPG), an alternative theory of gravity, observationally indistinguishable from General Relativity (GR). In contrast to the latter, gravity in TPG isn’t conceptualised as a manifestation of spacetime curvature. Instead, TPG’s gravitational degrees of freedom appear to be encoded in a ...

Philosophy of Physics - space and timeSymposium

It is widely accepted by physicists and philosophers of physics alike that there are certain contexts in which general relativity will "break down". In such cases, one expects to need some as-yet undiscovered successor theory. This paper will discuss certain pathologies of general relativity that might be taken to signal that the theory is breaking...

Philosophy of Physics - space and timeContributed Papers

History of philosophy of sciencePoster

I explain that a target of Newton's example is the inadequacy of Descartes’s definition of motion. But I also a raise a serious problem for the current reading which comes from the attribution of “absolute and true circular motion” to the water revolving inside the bucket. The solution resides in an examination of Newton’s meticulous experi...

Philosophy of Physics - space and timeContributed Papers

The tradition of a strict conceptual dichotomy between space(time) and matter--all entities and structures in our universe are to be categorised and conceptualized as either spacetime or matter, never both, never neither--originates with Democritus’ atomism--everything in our universe is ultimately reducible to either atoms (matter) or void (spac...

Philosophy of Physics - space and timeSymposium