Eleanor Knox - Cushing Prize Lecturer
Many (perhaps all) concepts in science are functional, but the idea that we should conceive of spacetime as whatever fills some functional role has not been much explored. Nonetheless, a functional conception of spacetime seems to be required by some theories of quantum gravity in which spacetime is non-fundamental. I'll argue that functionalism is also helpful in the context of classical spacetime theories; it has the potential to dissolve some old problems. I'll look at possible consequences of spacetime functionalism for the debate between the substantivalist and the relationist, and for various debates over the 'right' space in which to set a given theory.