The Reign of Relativity: Philosophy in Physics 1915-1925
Universally recognized as bringing about a revolutionary transformation of the notions of space, time, and motion in physics, Einstein's theory of gravitation, known as "general relativity," was also a defining event for 20th century philosophy of science. During the decisive first ten years of the theory's existence, two main tendencies dominated its philosophical reception. This book is an extended argument that the path actually taken, which became logical empiricist philosophy of science, greatly contributed to the current impasse over realism, whereas new possibilities are opened in revisiting and reviving the spirit of the more sophisticated tendency, a cluster of viewpoints broadly termed transcendental idealism, and furthering its articulation. It also emerges that Einstein, while paying lip service to the emerging philosophy of logical empiricism, ended up siding de facto with the latter tendency. Ryckman's work speaks to several groups, among them philosophers of science and historians of relativity. Equations are displayed as necessary, but Ryckman gives the non-mathematical reader enough background to understand their occurrence in the context of his wider philosophical project.
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affine connection arbitrary axioms Cassirer Cassirer’s chapter cognition concepts congruence consciousness constitutive coordinate system covariance curvature defined definition determined Eddington Eddington 1923a eidetic Einstein field equations Einstein’s theory empirical empiricism empiricist Engl epistemological essence Euclidean experience fact field laws field physics field theory fundamental given gravitation and electromagnetism gravitational field Helmholtz Husserl independent inertial intuition invariant Kant Kant’s Kantian knowledge length logical manifold mathematical matter measuring rods method metric field metric tensor Meyerson natural gauge neo-Kantian notion observation particular perception phenomenological philosophical physical objectivity physical theory physical world possible principle of relativity priori pure infinitesimal geometry Raum-Zeit-Materie reality regarded Reichenbach 1920 relation relativity theory repr Riemann Riemannian geometry rigid bodies rigid rods rods and clocks Schlick scientific sense space-time special relativity structure synthetic tensor theory of relativity trans transcendental idealism transcendental-phenomenological transformations univocal vector Weyl Weyl’s theory world building world geometry