The curious case of spacetime emergence

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Abstract

Work in quantum gravity suggests that spacetime is not fundamental. Rather, spacetime emerges from an underlying, non-spatiotemporal reality. After clarifying the type of emergence at issue, I argue that standard conceptions of emergence available in metaphysics won’t work for the emergence of spacetime. I go on to consider spacetime functionalism as a way to make sense of spacetime emergence. I argue that a functionalist approach to spacetime modelled on mental state functionalism is not a viable alternative to the standard conception of emergence in metaphysics. I go on to consider an alternative: ‘partial’ functionalism, whereby certain aspects of spacetime are functionalised, rather than spacetime as a whole.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical Studies
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jun 2019

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