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AGPhil: Arbeitsgruppe Philosophie der Physik

AGPhil 4: Foundations of Classical Gravity

AGPhil 4.4: Talk

Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 11:30–12:00, A 060

Against Comparativism about Mass in Newtonian gravity — •Niels Carl Maria Martens — Philosophy Department, University of Oxford

The property of having mass is a determinable with two types of determinates: we think of an object with mass as having a determinate intrinsic property, but we also think it stands in determinate mass relationships with other massive objects. Absolutism about mass is the metaphysical position that the intrinsic properties are fundamental; the mass relationships are then grounded in those intrinsic masses. Comparativism is the position that the mass relationships are fundamental; they are all there is to the property of having mass (Dasgupta, 2013). I will defend the original Newtonian (that is absolutist) interpretation of Newtonian Gravity against recent attempts to reformulate Newtonian Gravity in comparativist terms.

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