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On miracles: Reflections on the dynamical and geometrical approaches to spacetime theories

Tushar Menon (Oxford & UIC)
Friday, October 13, 2017
3:00-5:00 PM
1171 (Tanner Library) Angell Hall Map
The dynamical approach to relativity, developed and defended by Brown and Pooley offers an interpretation of relativistic spacetime theories based on a claim about the origin of chronogeometricity---the property that the metric is surveyed by rods and clocks---of the metric in those theories. The sine qua non of this view is its claim about the origin of chronometricity but this is often overshadowed by the reductive ontological claim that follows in the special case of special relativity (SR). As a result, its status as a viable interpretation of general relativity (GR) is often overlooked. In GR, this interpretation relies on the existence of two contingent, unexplained, seemingly conspiratorial facts---miracles, if you will. In this paper, I argue, based on recent work by Schuller and collaborators, that the dynamical approach, in fact, requires only one miracle. Based on this, I argue that it provides an explanatorily superior interpretation to orthodox geometrical approaches.
Building: Angell Hall
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: Philosophy
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Department of Philosophy