Talk: Michael Esfeld

The Geneva Symmetry Group and Beyond Spacetime present

Michael Esfeld (Lausanne):
Relationalism about space-time and the essence of matter

Wednesday, 21 October 2015, 16:15

2, Rue De-Candolle, Room L107 [Map: http://www.openstreetmap.org/]

Anyone who wishes to attend this talk is welcome.

Abstract:

In this talk, I’ll argue that the essence of matter are spatial relations that connect point particles. Over and above the traditional arguments for relationalism, I’ll lay stress on the claim that Leibniz’ definition of space as the order of what coexists provides for a structural individuation of material objects that respects the principle of the identity of indiscernibles. The spatial relations change. Time then comes in as the order of that change. I’ll sketch out how to obtain geometry and dynamics in a package on that basis. Thus, on the one hand, space emerges from the relations that individuate material objects, and time emerges from the change in these relations. On the other hand, these relations clearly are spatial ones, and the order is temporal not only in the sense of the C-series, but also in the sense of the B-series (and perhaps even the A-series). Finally, I briefly mention reasons to take this framework seriously also when it comes to general relativity and quantum gravity.

In terms of technical difficulty, this talk is 1 Einstein out of 5.

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About wuthrich

I am a philosopher of physics at the University of Geneva.
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