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Is physical space-time real? By real I of course mean mind independent. By space-time I mean the referent of the mathematical model that physicists use in relativity in which four dimensions always have to be specified.

I suppose that in effect I'm asking whether our relativistic sciences tell us what is really happening, and we always need to specify four dimensions to refer to these events.

Philosophers of science ask if structure entities and quarks are real, so why not space-time?


I would guess perhaps not, on the grounds that then I think everyday physical space and time too would then be real (as I quite naively assume that these reduce to the physicist's model, but realism about what reduces to what is physically real seems about right).

closed as off-topic by Jishin Noben, Eliran, Mark Andrews, christo183, Bread Feb 10 at 11:48

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Geoffrey Thomas Feb 9 at 20:01
  • What an unusual treatment of the word 'real'. – rus9384 Feb 10 at 9:13
  • no it's very normal, it's what scientific realism means... @rus9384 – confused Feb 10 at 9:59
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    Well, typically "real" is an antonym of "illusionary". Mind-dependent is not the same as illusionary. And nothing can be mind-independent of we assume physicalism is true (and science does). Because the systems brain and anything else are not isolated from each other. – rus9384 Feb 10 at 11:12