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Priority Monism Beyond Spacetime

Baptiste Le Bihan
From the journal Metaphysica

Abstract

I will defend two claims. First, Schaffer’s priority monism is in tension with many research programs in quantum gravity. Second, priority monism can be modified into a view more amenable to this physics. The first claim is grounded in the fact that promising approaches to quantum gravity such as loop quantum gravity or string theory deny the fundamental reality of spacetime. Since fundamental spacetime plays an important role in Schaffer’s priority monism by being identified with the fundamental structure, namely the cosmos, the disappearance of spacetime in these views might undermine classical priority monism. My second claim is that priority monism can avoid this issue with two moves: first, in dropping one of its core assumption, namely that the fundamental structure is spatio-temporal, second, by identifying the connection between the non-spatio-temporal structure and the derivative spatio-temporal structure with mereological composition.

Acknowledgments

For helpful comments on previous versions of the essay, I would like to thank Jiri Benovsky, Karen Crowther Niels Linnemann, Christian Wüthrich and an anonymous referee. This work was performed under a collaborative agreement between the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Geneva and made possible by grant number 56314 from the John Templeton Foundation. The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of the Foundation.

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Published Online: 2017-12-23
Published in Print: 2018-3-26

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