The Ehlers-Pirani-Schild (EPS) constructive axiomatisation of general
relativity, published in 1972, purports to build up the kinematical structure
of that theory from only axioms which have indubitable empirical content. It
is, therefore, of profound significance both to the epistemology and to the
metaphysics of spacetime theories. In this article, we set the EPS approach in
its proper context, by (a) discussing the history of constructive approaches to
spacetime theories in the lead-up to EPS; (b) addressing some of the major
concerns raised against EPS; (c) considering how EPS compares with
‘chronometric’ approaches to affording the metric field of general relativity
its operational significance; (d) distinguishing quite generally between
different kinds of constructive approach, and fitting EPS into this
classification; (e) discussing how constructivism bears on a number of other
issues in the foundations of physics; and (f) assessing the merits of
constructivism qua local foundationalist project. There are two companion
papers, in which we provide a pedagogical walkthrough to the EPS axiomatisation
(Part I), and discuss/develop versions of EPS with quantum mechanical inputs
(Part III).

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