Warsaw Spacetime Colloquium: Jeremy Butterfield & Henrique Gomes (19 November on Zoom)

On Friday, 19 November, Jeremy Butterfield & Henrique Gomes (University of Cambridge) will give a talk titled “Assessing the Hole Argument” (abstract below).

The meeting will take place online on Zoom (17:00-19:00 CET). If you have not registered yet, you can do so here.

You can address any inquiry to antonio.vassallo@pw.edu.pl.


We assess the hole argument in general relativity, and the related topics of the definitions of symmetries and determinism. We begin by rejecting the claim made in some recent literature that the sheer mathematics of the theory makes it mandatory to identify spacetime points “across possible worlds” by dragging along by the isomorphism. We agree that the mathematics is indifferent to the identity of points, and that in many contexts, drag-along is appropriate. But we argue that general relativity, and indeed other spacetime theories, use other means of “trans-world identification”, which we will call threading. Besides, they need to use threading, on pain of trivialising important constructions: even elementary ones like the Lie derivative.