Chapter

Spatial Structure for Relationalists

Gordon Belot

in Geometric Possibility

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199595327
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729157 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199595327.003.0003
Spatial Structure for Relationalists

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How can relationalists make sense of claims concerning the structure of space? Two basic types of strategies are discussed: conservative strategies, under which the structure of space is always fully explored by matter; and modal strategies, under which the structure of space is in general revealed only when one considers which configurations of matter are possible as well as which ones are actual. It is argued that conservative strategies are unpromising. It is argued that modal strategies face a basic problem: it is impossible for any modal account to simultaneously satisfy three desirable conditions. A strategy for investigating varieties of modal relationalism that satisfy various pairs of these conditions is laid out.

Keywords: substantivalism; relationalism; modality; laws of nature

Chapter.  8426 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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