This volume explores the inadequacies of the two standard conceptions of space or spacetime, substantivalism and relationism, and in the process, proposes a new historical interpretation of these physical theories. This book also examines and develops alternative ontological conceptions of space, and explores additional historical elements of seventeenth century theories and other metaphysical themes.
The author first discusses the two main opposing theories of the ontology of space. One, known as substantivalism, proposes space to be an entity that can exist independently of material things. The other, relationism, contends that space is a relation among material things. Readers will learn about specific problems with this dichotomy. First, Newton and Leibniz are often upheld as the retrospective forerunners of substantivalism and relationism. But, their work often contradicts the central tenets of these views. Second, these theories have proven problematic when transferred to a modern setting, especially with regards to general relativity and the recent quantum gravity hypotheses.
The author details an alternative set of concepts that address these problems. The author also develops a new classificational system that provides a more accurate taxonomy for the elements of all spatial ontologies. This classification obtains successful analogies between Newton, Leibniz, and other natural philosophers with contemporary physical theories.
About the Author
Table of ContentsIntroduction.- Part I. Substantivalism and Relationism versus Newton and Leibniz.- A (Contrarian’s) Reappraisal of the History and Current State of the Ontology Debate in the Philosophy of Space.- Newton’s Neoplatonic Ontology of Space: Substantivalism or Third-Way?.- Leibniz’ Ontology of Space: Whither Relationism?.- Motion, Matter, Monads, and their “Forced” Relationship.- Part II. Third-Way Spatial Ontologies: Past and Present.- From Property to Structure: Exploring Contemporary Third-Way Conceptions of the Ontology of Space.- Newton’s Immobility Arguments and the Holism of Spatial Ontology.- The ‘Space’ at the Intersection of Physics, Metaphysics, and Mathematics.- The Multiple Paths towards an Epistemic Structural Realist Spatial Ontology.- Part III. The Deep Metaphysics of Space from the Seventeenth Century to Quantum Gravity.- A New Taxonomy Beyond Substantivalism and Relationism I: Early Modern Spatial Ontologies.- A New Taxonomy Beyond Substantivalism and Relationism II: Some Philosophical Prehistory of Quantum Gravity.- Epilogue: The Post-Seventeenth Century Evolution of the Standard Dichotomy.- References.