relational space1

relational space1 - Relational Space Relational space is...

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Relational Space Relational space is the theory set for the by Gottfried Leibniz that space is merely made up of the spatial relationships between objects. That is, space is defined just by the numerical distance between two bodies leading to the implication that space is incapable of existence in the absence of matter. Space is a consequence of matter's existence as outside of the material universe nothing exists to draw further spatial relationships with and thus space ends. Newtonian physics was the ruling school of thought of the time. Not only did it make logical sense, but also held a great deal of applicability in the actual world. Based upon Newtonian law a rival theory of space was formulated. This competing Newtonian view was absolute space. In absolute space: 1) Space comes prior to matter and its existence independent of matter. 2) Volume and extension of a body differ from the space it takes up at time T. The body has the property of being in that space at time T. 3) Space is continuous. 4) Space is infinite as Newton's absolute space is based upon Euclidian space which is both homogenous and continuous. Because of the two aforementioned properties, space must be infinite as if it weren't each point in space would be unique in its relationship with the boundaries of space. 5) Bodies are perceptible, but individual points of space are not individually perceptible. In infinite space a finite universe could be placed any were within it. However, if the move was done with non-uniform
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motion (that is it has acceleration or was flipped on an axis) forces could be observed within the universe even though the overall structure of the universe would be maintained. (Ballard 50-52) Leibniz bases his argument against absolute space on the principals of sufficient reason and that of the identity of indiscernibles. Sufficient reason refers to the idea that God never acts without sufficient reason to do so. Because God is perfection, sufficient reason implies that he acts only to bring about the best possible existence. The second property, identity of indiscernibles, postulates that if two things are completely indistinguishable from each other, there are not two different things. From these two properties Leibniz is able to form the following argument against absolute space:
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course PHIL 162 taught by Professor Holden during the Winter '08 term at UCSB.

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relational space1 - Relational Space Relational space is...

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