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    • Which is better general relativity or special relativity?

      • Einstein later declared the cosmological constant the biggest blunder of his life. During that period, general relativity remained something of a curiosity among physical theories. It was clearly superior to Newtonian gravity, being consistent with special relativity and accounting for several effects unexplained by the Newtonian theory.
  1. The five-dimensional theory, which is a necessary extension of general relativity, because of the mass-charge interaction, would certainly supersede general relativity Cite 11th Oct, 2017

  2. Nov 26, 2015 · Art of science. A quest for beauty has been a part of the tradition of physics throughout its history. And in this sense, general relativity is the culmination of a specific set of aesthetic concerns.

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    Which is better general relativity or special relativity?

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    What are the implications of Einstein's theory of relativity?

  4. Nov 26, 2015 · Art of science. A quest for beauty has been a part of the tradition of physics throughout its history. And in this sense, general relativity is the culmination of a specific set of aesthetic ...

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    • The Search For Philosophical Novelty
    • Machian Positivism
    • Kantian and Neo-Kantian Interpretations
    • Logical Empiricism
    • “Geometrization of Physics”: Platonism, Transcendental Idealism, Structuralism

    Extraordinary public clamor greeted an announcement of the jointmeeting of the Royal Society of London and the Royal AstronomicalSociety on the sixth of November 1919. Astronomical observations madeby a British team during the solar eclipse on May 29 comprised thefirst empirical test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.Lengthy data analysis of the observations over the summer had shownthat within acceptable margin of error, light from distant starspassing near the solar surface was displaced by the tiny amount (1.75arcseconds, corresponding to the angle of a right triangle of height 1inch and base nearly 2 miles in length) predicted by Einstein’sgravitational theory of curved spacetime. By dint of having“overthrown” such a permanent fixture of the cognitivelandscape as Newtonian gravitational theory, the general theory ofrelativity at once became a principal focus of philosophical interestand inquiry. Although some physicists and philosophers initiallyopposed it, mostly on no...

    2.1 In the Early Einstein

    Most of Einstein’s early papers (1902–1911) prior to hisnearly exclusive concentration on a relativitistic theory ofgravitation (1909–1915) are devoted not to the theory ofrelativity but with problems posed to classical physics byPlanck’s discovery of his eponymous energy constant in1900. These early works reveal Einstein to be a strong supporter ofLudwig Boltzmann rather than Ernst Mach in the debate over atomism atthe turn of the century (Ryckman 2017: chapter 3). Yet in 1912,Einstein’s nam...

    2.2 A “Relativization of Inertia”?

    Machian influences specific to the general theory of relativityappeared even more extensive. Mach’s idée fixe,that a body’s inertial mass and motion result from the influenceof all other surrounding masses (thus eliminating the“monstrous” Newtonian concept of absolute space), wasperhaps the strongest motivation guiding Einstein’s pursuit of arelativistic theory of gravity. In papers leading up to the definitivepresentation of the general theory of relativity in 1916, Einsteinmade no secret of...

    2.3 Positivism and the “Hole Argument”

    A passage from §3 of Einstein’s first complete expositionof the general theory of relativity (1916a) appeared to providefurther grist for the mill of Machian positivism. There Einsteingrandly declared that his requirement of general covariance for thegravitational field equations (i.e., that they remain unchanged underarbitrary, but suitably continuous, transformation of the spacetimecoordinates), “takes away from space and time the last remnantof physical objectivity”. An accompanying heuris...

    3.1 Neo-Kantians on Special Relativity

    In the universities of Imperial and early Weimar Germany, thephilosophy of Kant, particularly the various neo-Kantian schools, heldpride of place. Of these, the Marburg School of Hermann Cohen and PaulNatorp, including Cohen’s student Ernst Cassirer, exhibited aspecial interest in the philosophy of the physical sciences and ofmathematics. Yet prior to the general theory of relativity(1915–1916), Kantian philosophers accorded relativity theoryonly cursory attention. This may be seen in two lea...

    3.2 Immunizing Strategies

    Following the experimental confirmation of the general theory in 1919,few Kantians attempted to retain, unadulterated, all of the componentsof Kant’s epistemological views. Several examples will sufficeto indicate characteristic “immunizing strategies”(Hentschel 1990). The Habilitationsschriftof E. Sellien(1919), read by Einstein in view of his criticism expressed in anOctober 1919 letter to Moritz Schlick (Howard 1984: 625), declaredthat Kant’s views on space and time pertained solely tointu...

    3.3 Rejecting or Refurbishing the Transcendental Aesthetic

    In fact many Kantian philosophers did not attempt to immunize Kantfrom an apparent empirical refutation by the general theory. Rather,their concern was to establish how far-reaching the necessarymodifications of Kant must be and whether, on implementation, anythingdistinctively Kantian remained. Certainly, most at risk appeared to bethe claim, in the Transcendental Aesthetic, that all objects of outerintuition, and so all physical objects, conform to the space ofEuclidean geometry. Since the...

    4.1 Lessons of Methodology?

    Logical empiricism’s philosophy of science was conceived underthe guiding star of Einstein’s two theories of relativity, asmay be seen from the early writings of its founders, for purposeshere, Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap, and Hans Reichenbach. A smallmonograph of Schlick, Space and Time in Contemporary Physics,appearing in 1917 initially in successive issues of the scientificweekly Die Naturwissenschaften, served as prototype. One ofthe first of a host of philosophical examinations of the...

    4.2 From the “Relativized A priori” to the “Relativity of Geometry”

    A cornerstone of Reichenbach’s logical analysis of the theory ofgeneral relativity is the thesis of “the relativity ofgeometry”, that an arbitrary geometry may be ascribed tospacetime (holding constant the underlying topology) if the laws ofphysics are correspondingly modified through the introduction of“universal forces”. This particular argument for metricconventionalism has generated substantial controversy on its own, butis better understood through an account of its genesis inReichenbach...

    4.3 Critique of Reichenbachian Metric Conventionalism

    In retrospect, it is rather difficult to understand the significancethat has been accorded this argument. Carnap, for example, in“Introductory Remarks” (Carnap 1956 [Reichenbach 1958:vii]) to the posthumous English translation of this work, singled itout on account of its “great interest for the methodology ofphysics”. Reichenbach himself deemed “the philosophicalachievement of the theory of relativity” to lie in thismethodological distinction between conventional and factual claimsregarding...

    5.1 Differing Motivations

    In the decade or so following the appearance of the general theory ofrelativity, there was much talk of a reduction of physics to geometry(e.g., Hilbert 1917; Weyl 1918b, 1919; Haas 1920; Lodge 1921). Whilethese discussions were largely, and understandably, confined toscientific circles, they nonetheless brought distinctly philosophicalissues—of methodology, but also of epistemology andmetaphysics—together with technical matters. Einstein’smathematical representation of gravitational field po...

    5.2 The Initial Step: “Geometrizing” Gravity

    The “geometrization of gravitational force” in 1915 gavethe geometrization program its first, partial, realization as well asits subsequent impetus. In Einstein’s theory, the fundamental or“metric” tensor gμνgμν of Riemannian geometryappears in a dual role which thoroughly fuses its geometrical and itsphysical meanings. As is apparent from the expression for thedifferential interval between neighboring spacetime events,ds2=gμνdxμdxνds2=gμνdxμdxν(here, and below there is an implicit summation...

    5.3 Extending Geometrization

    In making spacetime curvature dependent on distributions of mass andenergy, general relativity is indeed capable of encompassing all(non-quantum) physical fields. However, in classical generalrelativity there remains a fundamental asymmetry between gravitationaland non-gravitational fields, in particular, electromagnetism, theonly other fundamental physical interaction definitely known until the1930s. This shows up visibly in one form of the Einstein fieldequations in which, on the left-hand...

  6. General relativity also predicts the existence of gravitational waves, which have since been observed directly by the physics collaboration LIGO. In addition, general relativity is the basis of current cosmological models of a consistently expanding universe.

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