Thursday, June 25, 2015

Functionalism about spatial properties

Functionalism about spatial properties says that what makes spatial properties be spatial is the kind of role they play in interaction with laws and regularities in the world. This allows the concept of spatial properties like shape or distance to be independent of the precise physics of the world. For instance, one might say that distance is a relation largely characterized by a correlation between itself and weakening causal interactions.

I find functionalism about spatial properties attractive, but it just occurred to me that if one is not careful, it might turn out that the virtual spatial relations in virtual worlds end up counting as real spatial relations.


Heath White said...

Surely it is a synthetic, not an analytic truth that causal forces tend to diminish over distance?

Alexander R Pruss said...

I don't know about that. Even apart from the above theory, it may be _a priori_ that we can more easily affect things closer to us, just as it is arguably _a priori_ that water is wet (I am thinking here of the way Chalmers thinks about the _a priori_).