Once Upon a Spacetime
Skow (Bradford)
Source: Retrieved from Academia.edu 15/12/18; Bradford Skow's PhD Thesis, New York University, September, 2005
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. This dissertation concerns the nature of spacetime. It is divided into two parts. The first part, which comprises chapters 1, 2, and 3, addresses ontological questions: does spacetime exist? And if so, are there any other spatiotemporal things?
    • In chapter 1 I argue that spacetime does exist, and
    • in chapter 2 I respond to modal arguments against this view.
    • In chapter 3 I examine and defend supersubstantivalism—the claim that all concrete physical objects (tables, chairs, electrons and quarks) are regions of spacetime.
  2. Four-dimensional spacetime, we are often told, ‘unifies’ space and time; if we believe in spacetime, then we do not believe that space and time are separately existing things. But that does not mean that there is no distinction between space and time: we still distinguish between the spatial aspects and the temporal aspects of spacetime.
  3. The second part of this dissertation, comprising chapter 4, looks at this distinction. How is it made? In virtue of what are the temporal aspects of spacetime temporal, rather than spatial? The standard view is that the temporal aspects of spacetime are temporal because they play a distinctive role in the geometry of spacetime. I argue that this view is false, and that the temporal aspects are temporal because they play a distinctive role in the geometry of spacetime and in the laws of nature.


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