Authors
Oliver Pooley
Oxford University
Abstract
In a companion paper (Pooley & Brown 2001) it is argued that Julian Barbour's Machian approach to dynamics provides a genuinely relational interpretation of Newtonian dynamics and that it is more explanatory than the conventional, substantival interpretation. In this paper the extension of the approach to relativistic physics is considered. General relativity, it turns out, can be reinterpreted as a perfectly Machian theory. However, there are difficulties with viewing the Machian interpretation as more fundamental than the conventional, spacetime interpretation. Moreover, this state of affairs provides little solace for the relationist for, even when interpreted along Machian lines, general relativity is a substantival theory although the basic entity is space, not spacetime.
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References found in this work BETA

Science Without Numbers: A Defence of Nominalism.Hartry H. Field - 1980 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Primitive Thisness and Primitive Identity.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1979 - Journal of Philosophy 76 (1):5-26.
Primitive Thisness and Primitive Identity.Robert Merrihew Adams - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Relationalism Rehabilitated? I: Classical Mechanics.Oliver Pooley & Harvey R. Brown - 2002 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (2):183--204.
Symplectic Reduction and the Problem of Time in Nonrelativistic Mechanics.Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (4):789-824.
Geometry, Fields, and Spacetime.James Binkoski - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):1097-1117.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

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