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The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity$
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Dean Rickles, Steven French, and Juha T. Saatsi

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269693

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269693.001.0001

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Structure, Individuality, and Quantum Gravity

Structure, Individuality, and Quantum Gravity

(p.53) 3 Structure, Individuality, and Quantum Gravity
The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity

John Stachel

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews various interpretations of structural realism and then adopts a definition that allows both relations between things that are already individuated (‘relations between things’) and relations that individuate previously un-individuated entities (‘things between relations’). Since both spacetime points in general relativity and elementary particles in quantum theory fall into the latter category, the chapter proposes a principle of maximal permutability as a criterion for the fundamental entities of any future theory of ‘quantum gravity’; i.e., a theory yielding both general relativity and quantum field theory in appropriate limits. It reviews a number of current candidates for such a theory. The chapter ends by suggesting a new approach to the question of which spacetime structures should be quantized.

Keywords:   structural realism, spacetime, quantum general relativity, quantum field theory, canonical quantization

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