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date: 24 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The concept of space has many distinct uses in science. Not only does it denote the three-dimensional physical space we walk through (and our mental representations thereof), but also abstract spaces of various kinds and higher dimensionality. Spaces provide a means of systematically and exhaustively representing possible distinct states of physical or abstract systems, allowing one to chart the motions, relationships, and other qualities that they might undergo, enter into, or possess. Such spaces can encode the possibilities of physical systems relative to laws of nature allowing us both to probe modal aspects of the world and to discover symmetries and redundancies in a theory (identifying “intrinsic structure”). This chapter reviews these various elements, giving many examples from distinct fields and attempts to draw some broad lessons on the significance of this more general concept of space.

Keywords: space, representation, symmetries, modality, laws of nature

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