Prospects for a Causal Theory of Space-Time

  • Lawrence Sklar
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 157)


What could possibly constitute a more essential, a more ineliminable, component of our conceptual framework than that ordering of phenomena which places them in space and time? The spatiality and temporality of things is, we feel, the very condition of their existing at all and having other, less primordial, features. A world devoid of color, smell or taste we could, perhaps, imagine. Similarly a world stripped of what we take to be essential theoretical properties also seems conceivable to us. We could imagine a world without electric charge, without the atomic constitution of matter, perhaps without matter at all. But a world not in time? A world not spatial? Except to some Platonists, I suppose, such a world seems devoid of real being altogether.


Causal Relation Minkowski Spacetime Causal Theory Reduction Basis Local Simultaneity 
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  1. 2.
    See L. Sklar, ‘Facts, Conventions and Assumptions in the Theory of Space Time’, in the Minnesota Studies, volume cited above, pp. 206–274.Google Scholar
  2. 7More on this is contained in L. Sklar, ‘Up and down, Left and Right, Past and Future’, Noûs 15 (1981), 111–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 8.
    Perhaps the fullest attempt at a reduction of spacetime to algebraically characterized relations among quantum measurements is D. Finkelstein’s set of pieces on the ‘space* time code’. Physical Review 184 (1969), 1261; Physical Review D 5 (1972), 320; 5 (1972), 2922; 9 (1974), 2219, and D. Finkelstein, G. Frye, and L. Susskind, Physical Review D 9 (1974), 2231.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    On the necessity of identification statements see S. Kripke, ‘Naming and Necessity’, in D. Davidson and G. Harman (eds.), Semantics of Natural Language (Reidel, Dordrecht, 1972), pp. 253–255, and H. Putnam, ‘The Meaning of “Meaning”’, in K. Gunderson (ed.), Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, VII, Language, Mind, and Knowledge ( University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1975 ), pp. 131–193.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    A. Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1928 ), Chapter V, ‘Becoming’.Google Scholar

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© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1983

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  • Lawrence Sklar

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