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Remarks on Relational Theories of Motion

Earman, John (1989) Remarks on Relational Theories of Motion. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 19 (1). 83 - 87. ISSN 0045-5091

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<jats:p>In a recent article in this journal, Barbara Lariviere offers a very useful distinction between two ways of understanding the claims that Leibniz, or relational theorists in general, might wish to make about the nature of motion and the structure of space and time; viz.,</jats:p><jats:p><jats:disp-quote><jats:p>(L<jats:sub>1</jats:sub>) There is no real inertial structure to space-time.</jats:p></jats:disp-quote></jats:p><jats:p>and</jats:p><jats:p><jats:disp-quote><jats:p>(L<jats:sub>2</jats:sub>) There is a real inertial structure to space-time, but it is dynamical rather than absolute.</jats:p></jats:disp-quote></jats:p><jats:p>Citing the authority of Weyl, the author argues that L<jats:sub>1</jats:sub> is untenable; indeed, the argument purports to show that if L<jats:sub>1</jats:sub> were true, then there would be no coherent basis for a theory of motion, not even a relational theory. My main goal in this note is to point out why this argument is mistaken while at the same time sketching the real reason why the relational conception of motion is untenable. In addition I will offer a few remarks about the relevance of L<jats:sub>2</jats:sub> to the absolute-relational controvery.</jats:p>


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Earman, Johnjearman@pitt.eduJEARMAN
Centers: University Centers > Center for Philosophy of Science
Date: March 1989
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: Canadian Journal of Philosophy
Volume: 19
Number: 1
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Page Range: 83 - 87
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1080/00455091.1989.10716468
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0045-5091
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2012 03:28
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2020 22:55


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