The curious case of spacetime emergence

Sam Baron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
218 Downloads (Pure)


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
Pages (from-to)2207-2226
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number8
Early online date1 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


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