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Jeremy Butterfield and Henrique Gomes
University of Cambridge

On Reduction and Functionalism about Space and Time

April 2, 2020
Abstract: Various programmes and results in the philosophy/foundations of spacetime theories illustrate points about reduction and functionalism in general philosophy of science. I will focus on some programmes and results about how the physics of matter contributes to determining, or even determines, or even explains, chrono-geometry. I will say something about most of the following examples: the Helmholtz-Lie theorem on free mobility implying constant curvature; and in the philosophical literature, Robb (1914), and Mundy (1983). I also hope to mention from the physics literature: Barbour and Bertotti (1982), Hojman, Kuchar and Teitelboim (1976); Dull, Schuller et al. (2012, 2018); and Gomes & Shyam (2016: 1608.08236 = J. Math. Phys. 57, 112503).