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  • Cited by 17
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Bain, Jonathan 2003. Einstein Algebras and the Hole Argument. Philosophy of Science, Vol. 70, Issue. 5, p. 1073.

    Liu, Chuang 2003. Gauge gravity and the unification of natural forces. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 17, Issue. 2, p. 143.

    Esfeld, Michael and Lam, Vincent 2008. Moderate structural realism about space-time. Synthese, Vol. 160, Issue. 1, p. 27.

    Curiel, Erik 2009. General Relativity Needs No Interpretation*. Philosophy of Science, Vol. 76, Issue. 1, p. 44.

    Belot, Gordon 2012. Quantum states for primitive ontologists. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, Vol. 2, Issue. 1, p. 67.

    Strobach, Niko 2013. A Companion to the Philosophy of Time. p. 30.

    Hoy, Ronald C. 2013. A Companion to the Philosophy of Time. p. 7.

    Stachel, John 2014. The Hole Argument and Some Physical and Philosophical Implications. Living Reviews in Relativity, Vol. 17, Issue. 1,

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

    Crowther, Karen 2016. Effective Spacetime. p. 1.

    Gryb, Sean and Thébault, Karim P. Y. 2016. Time Remains. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 67, Issue. 3, p. 663.

    Dorato, Mauro 2017. Dynamical versus structural explanations in scientific revolutions. Synthese, Vol. 194, Issue. 7, p. 2307.

    Wüthrich, Christian 2017. Towards a Theory of Spacetime Theories. Vol. 13, Issue. , p. 297.

    Norton, Joshua 2017. Incubating a future metaphysics: quantum gravity. Synthese,

    Livanios, Vassilis 2017. Science in Metaphysics. p. 129.

    Crowther, Karen 2018. Defining a crisis: the roles of principles in the search for a theory of quantum gravity. Synthese,

    Slowik, Edward 2018. The Map and the Territory. p. 185.

  • Print publication year: 2001
  • Online publication date: December 2009

10 - Pre-Socratic quantum gravity



Physicists who work on canonical quantum gravity will sometimes remark that the general covariance of general relativity is responsible for many of the thorniest technical and conceptual problems in their field. In particular, it is sometimes alleged that one can trace to this single source a variety of deep puzzles about the nature of time in quantum gravity, deep disagreements surrounding the notion of ‘observable’ in classical and quantum gravity, and deep questions about the nature of the existence of spacetime in general relativity.

Philosophers who think about these things are sometimes sceptical about such claims. We have all learned that Kretschmann was quite correct to urge against Einstein that the ‘General Theory of Relativity’ was no such thing, since any theory could be cast in a generally covariant form, and hence that the general covariance of general relativity could not have any physical content, let alone bear the kind of weight that Einstein expected it to. Friedman's assessment is widely accepted: ‘As Kretschmann first pointed out in 1917, the principle of general covariance has no physical content whatever: it specifies no particular physical theory; rather, it merely expresses our commitment to a certain style of formulating physical theories’ (Friedman 1983, p. 44). Such considerations suggest that general covariance, as a technically crucial but physically contentless feature of general relativity, simply cannot be the source of any significant conceptual or physical problems.

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Physics Meets Philosophy at the Planck Scale
  • Online ISBN: 9780511612909
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