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The classical questions include: is space real, or is it some kind of mental construct, or artefact of our ways of perceiving and thinking? Is it ‘substantival’ or purely ‘relational’? According to substantivalism, space is an objective thing comprised of points or regions at which, or in which, things are located. Opposed to this is relationalism, according to which the only thing that is real about space are the spatial (and temporal) relations between physical objects. Substantivalism was advocated by Clarke, speaking for Newton, and relationalism by Leibniz, in their famous correspondence, and the debate continues today. There is also an issue whether the measures of space and time are objective, or whether an element of convention enters into them.

Subjects: Arts and Humanities.


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