Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 2
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Teh, Nicholas J. 2016. Gravity and Gauge. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 67, Issue. 2, p. 497.

    Perry, Zee R. 2017. How to Be a Substantivalist Without Getting Shifty About It*. Philosophical Issues, Vol. 27, Issue. 1, p. 223.

    ×
  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: December 2009

7 - From metaphysics to physics

Summary

Introduction

Michael Redhead began his Tarner Lectures by allowing that ‘many physicists would dismiss the sort of question that philosophers of physics tackle as irrelevant to what they see themselves as doing’ (1995, p. 1). He argued that, on the contrary, philosophy has much to offer physics: presenting examples and arguments from many parts of physics and philosophy, he led his audience towards his ultimate conclusion that physics and metaphysics enjoy a symbiotic relationship.

By way of tribute to Michael we would like to undertake a related project: convincing philosophers of physics themselves that the philosophy of space and time has something to offer contemporary physics. We are going to discuss the relationship between the interpretative problems of quantum gravity, and those of general relativity. We will argue that classical and quantum theories of gravity resuscitate venerable philosophical questions about the nature of space, time, and change; and that the resolution of some of the difficulties facing physicists working on quantum theories of gravity appears to require philosophical as well as scientific creativity. These problems have received little attention from philosophers. Indeed, scant attention has been paid to recent attempts to quantize gravity. As a result, most philosophers have been unaware of the problem of time in quantum gravity, and its relationship to the knot of philosophical and technical problems surrounding the general covariance of general relativity – so that it has been all too easy to dismiss this latter set of problems as philosophical contrivances. Consequently, philosophical discussion of space and time has suffered.

This point is best illustrated by attending to the contrast between what philosophers and physicists have to say about the significance of Einstein's hole argument.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

From Physics to Philosophy
  • Online ISBN: 9780511597947
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511597947
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
×