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Gravitational and Nongravitational Energy: The Need for Background Structures

Vincent Lam
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 78, No. 5 (December 2011), pp. 1012-1023
DOI: 10.1086/662260
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/662260
Page Count: 12
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Gravitational and Nongravitational Energy: The Need for Background Structures
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Abstract

The aim of this article is to discuss some aspects of the nature of gravitational energy within the general theory of relativity. Some aspects of the difficulties to ascribe the usual features of localization and conservation to gravitational energy are reviewed and considered in the light of the dual role of the dynamical gravitational field, which encodes both inertio-gravitational effects and the chronogeometrical structures of space-time. These considerations will lead us to discuss the fact that the very notion of energy—gravitational or not—is actually well defined in the theory only with respect to some background structure.

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