Which Worldlines Represent Possible Particle Histories?

  • Samuel C. FletcherEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Issue: Modality in Physics


Based on three common interpretive commitments in general relativity, I raise a conceptual problem for the usual identification, in that theory, of timelike curves as those that represent the possible histories of (test) particles in spacetime. This problem affords at least three different solutions, depending on different representational and ontological assumptions one makes about the nature of (test) particles, fields, and their modal structure. While I advocate for a cautious pluralism regarding these options, I also suggest that re-interpreting (test) particles as field processes offers the most promising route for natural integration with the physics of material phenomena, including quantum theory.


General relativity Closed timelike curves Particle ontology Field ontology Event ontology Process ontology 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Minnesota, Twin CitiesMinneapolisUSA

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