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Verificationism and Theories of Space-Time

  • Richard Swinburne
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 157)

Abstract

Professor Sklar’s paper brings out very clearly the difficulties for theories which attempt to reduce spatio-temporal relations either to a subset of privileged such relations or to something apparently very different. I find myself in very general agreement with almost everything which he writes. But feeling that he raises problems rather than solves them, I would like to attempt something more ambitious. Both the problems which he raises, of the proper limits to verificationism and to property-identification, inevitably hang over all discussion of space and time and are raised by other papers at this conference. Space precludes my considering both problems, and so I shall confine myself to considering the general issue of verificationism. I shall consider how far verificationism is supported by plausible philosophical arguments, and then argue that the kind of verificationism supported by such arguments gives no support to a Robbian programme. I apologize for the fact that I shall take some time over very general philosophical discussion before I apply my results to space-time talk. My excuse is that scientific talk about space and time has been influenced by verificationist presuppositions for the past century, perhaps more than any other scientific talk; and it is important to clear up the extent of their philosophical justification.

Keywords

Distant Event Reasonable Doubt Causal Theorist Local Simultaneity Prefer Frame 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Swinburne

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