How to be a realist about Minkowski spacetime without believing in magical explanations

Adan Sus

Abstract


The question about the relation between spacetime structure and the symmetries of laws has received renewed attention in a recent discussion about the status of Minkowski spacetime in Special Relativity. In that context we find two extreme positions (either spacetime explains symmetries of laws or vice-versa) and a general assumption about the debate being mainly about explanation. The aim of this paper is twofold: first, to argue that the ontological dimension of the debate cannot be ignored; second, to claim that taking ontology into account involves considering a third perspective on the relation between spacetime and symmetries of laws; one in which both terms would be somehow derived from common assumptions on the formulation of a given physical theory.


Keywords


Special Relativity; Minkowski spacetime; Dynamical approach; Explanation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.21065