Dependence relations in general relativity

  • Antonio VassalloEmail author
Paper in Philosophy of the Natural Sciences


The paper discusses from a metaphysical standpoint the nature of the dependence relation underpinning the talk of mutual action between material and spatiotemporal structures in general relativity. It is shown that the standard analyses of dependence in terms of causation or grounding are ill-suited for the general relativistic context. Instead, a non-standard analytical framework in terms of structural equation modeling is exploited, which leads to the conclusion that the kind of dependence encoded in the Einstein field equations is a novel one.


Dependence relation Grounding Causation Laws of nature General relativity Spacetime Geodesic motion Structural equation modeling 



Many thanks to Carl Hoefer, Vassilis Livanios, Al Wilson, and two anonymous referees for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Ça va sans dire, I am solely responsible for any remaining frown-inducing material. Also, I acknowledge financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, fellowship IJCI-2015-23321.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LOGOS-BIAP, Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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