Shumelda: The Shape of Space and Trace of Time: Machian Approaches to Quantum Gravity


Relational approaches to physics in general, and quantum gravity in particular, seek to describe the history of the universe not as curve in four-dimensional Minkowski spacetime, but rather in some kind of parametrization-invariant configuration space. Several relational approaches, such as loop quantum gravity, are already well-known to philosophers. In my paper I begin a philosophical analysis of time in the light of two relatively new — and very different — approaches to quantum gravity: geometrogenesis and shape dynamics. I argue that while each approach has its philosophical merits, neither is able to describe time as a fully emergent concept. Time, it seems, is here to stay in the fundamental theory — even given a Machian, relationalist approach to dynamics.


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