Mass-Energy-Momentum: Only there because of Spacetime?

Publication Year:
2010
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/5137
Author(s):
Lehmkuhl, Dennis
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preprint description
I describe how relativistic field theory generalises the paradigm property of material systems, the possession of mass, to the requirement that they have a mass-energy-momentum density tensor associated with them. I argue that the latter does not represent an intrinsic property of matter. For it will become evident that its definition depends on the metric field in a variety of ways. Accordingly, since the metric field represents the geometry of spacetime itself, the properties of mass, stress, energy and momentum should not be seen as intrinsic properties of matter, but as relational properties that material systems have only in virtue of their relation to spacetime structure.

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