Against the disappearance of spacetime in quantum gravity. (arXiv:1903.06637v1 [physics.hist-ph])

This paper argues against the proposal to draw from current research into a
physical theory of quantum gravity the ontological conclusion that spacetime or
spatiotemporal relations are not fundamental. As things stand, the status of
this proposal is like the one of all the other claims about radical changes in
ontology that were made during the development of quantum mechanics and quantum
field theory. However, none of these claims held up to scrutiny as a
consequence of the physics once the theory was established and a serious
discussion about its ontology had begun. Furthermore, the paper argues that if
spacetime is to be recovered through a functionalist procedure in a theory that
admits no fundamental spacetime, standard functionalism cannot serve as a
model: all the known functional definitions are definitions in terms of a
causal role for the motion of physical objects and hence presuppose
spatiotemporal relations.

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