Indeterminism, Gravitation, and Spacetime Theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Contemporary discussions of physical determinism that engage with modern spacetime and gravitational theory have typically focused on the question of the global uniqueness of solutions for initial-value problems. In this chapter I investigate the violation of local uniqueness, found in examples like Norton’s dome, which are not typically considered in light of spacetime theory. In particular, I construct initial trajectories for massive particles whose worldlines are not uniquely determined from initial data, both for a charged particle in special relativistic electromagnetism and for a freely falling particle in pure general relativity. I also show that the existence of such examples implies the violation of the Strong Energy Condition, and consider their implications for the interpretation of spacetime theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEuropean Studies in Philosophy of Science
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameEuropean Studies in Philosophy of Science
ISSN (Print)2365-4228
ISSN (Electronic)2365-4236

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer International Publishing AG.


  • Geodesic Motion
  • Spacetime Structure
  • Strong Energy Condition
  • Test Particle
  • Timelike Vector


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