In search of lost spacetime: philosophical issues arising in quantum gravity

Abstract

This paper issues a call to arms and seeks to entice the reader with some of the most captivating philosophical puzzles arising in quantum gravity. The analysis will be prefaced, in Section 1, by general considerations concerning the need for finding a quantum theory of gravity and the methods used in the pursuit of this goal. After mapping the field in Section 2, loop quantum gravity is introduced as an important competitor and particularly rich source of philosophical trouble in Section 3. The so-called problem of time, i.e. the puzzle that no genuine physical quantity can change, is discussed in Section 4. Finally, Section 5 analyzes how the familiar continuous spacetime structure might re-emerge from the fundamental, non-spatiotemporal structure.

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Christian Wüthrich
University of Geneva

References found in this work

Quantum Gravity.Carlo Rovelli - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
Relational quantum mechanics.Carlo Rovelli - 1996 - International Journal of Theoretical Physics 35 (8):1637--1678.
On the emergence of time in quantum gravity.Jeremy Butterfield & Chris Isham - 1999 - In The arguments of time. New York: Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press. pp. 111--168.

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