Relationism Rehabilitated? I: Classical Mechanics

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Pooley, Oliver; Brown, Harvey R.
preprint description
The implications for the substantivalist--relationist controversy of Barbour and Bertotti's successful implementation of a Machian approach to dynamics are investigated. It is argued that in the context of Newtonian mechanics the Machian framework provides a genuinely relational interpretation of dynamics and that it is more explanatory than the conventional, substantival interpretation. In a companion paper (Pooley 2001), the implications of the Machian approach for the interpretation of relativistic physics are explored.