Indeterminism, Gravitation, and Spacetime Theory

Conference paper
Part of the European Studies in Philosophy of Science book series (ESPS, volume 6)


Contemporary discussions of physical determinism that engage with modern spacetime and gravitational theory have typically focused on the question of the global uniqueness of solutions for initial-value problems. In this chapter I investigate the violation of local uniqueness, found in examples like Norton’s dome, which are not typically considered in light of spacetime theory. In particular, I construct initial trajectories for massive particles whose worldlines are not uniquely determined from initial data, both for a charged particle in special relativistic electromagnetism and for a freely falling particle in pure general relativity. I also show that the existence of such examples implies the violation of the Strong Energy Condition, and consider their implications for the interpretation of spacetime theory.


Test Particle Spacetime Structure Strong Energy Condition Timelike Vector Geodesic Motion 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Minnesota, Twin CitiesMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Munich Center for Mathematical PhilosophyLudwig Maximilian University of MunichMunichGermany

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