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Neil Dewar (Munich): “On Absolute Units”

7 December 2020, 2:00 pm3:30 pm

This event will take place online via Zoom. 

Everyone is welcome to join using a computer with access to the internet and Zoom. To take part just follow these instructions:

Please note that these events are routinely recorded, with the edited footage being made publicly available on our website and YouTube channel. We will only record the audio, the slides and the speaker and will not include the Q&A section. However, any question asked during the talk itself will feature in the final edit.

Abstract: What is the best way to characterise the intrinsic structure of physical quantities? Field’s program shows one approach (that also delivers a nominalist treatment of such quantities); in this talk, I outline how group-theoretic methods can deliver a somewhat simpler, although non-nominalist, way of doing this for scalar and vector quantities. I go on to develop a theory on how such quantities can be algebraically combined, and use this to develop a simple intrinsic treatment of Newtonian gravitation. Finally, I argue that this treatment illuminates a “third way” in the debate over absolutism and comparativism about quantities: namely, a form of anti-quidditist absolutism.


7 December 2020
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Event Category:




Online via Zoom