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Conventionality and reality. (English) Zbl 1437.83005
Summary: The debate on the conventionality of simultaneity and the debate on the dimensionality of the world have been central in the philosophy of special relativity. The link between both debates however has rarely been explored. The purpose of this paper is to gauge what implications the former debate has for the latter. I show the situation to be much more subtle than was previously argued, and explain how the ontic versus epistemic distinction in the former debate impacts the latter. Despite claims to the contrary, I conclude that special relativity leaves the debate on the dimensionality of the world underdetermined.

MSC:
83A05 Special relativity
53Z05 Applications of differential geometry to physics
00A30 Philosophy of mathematics
83-03 History of relativity and gravitational theory
01A60 History of mathematics in the 20th century
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