Conventionality in distant simulataneity

Philosophy of Science 34 (2):116-136 (1967)
Abstract
In his original paper of 1905, "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies", Einstein described a procedure for synchronizing distant clocks at rest in any inertial system K. Clocks thus synchronized may be said to be in standard signal synchrony in K. It has often been claimed that there are no logical or physical reasons for preferring standard signal synchronizations to any of a range of possible non-standard ones. In this paper, the range of consistent non-standard signal synchronizations, first for any one inertial system, and second for any set of such systems, is investigated, and it is shown that the requirement of consistency leaves much less room for choice than is commonly supposed. Nevertheless consistent non-standard signal synchronizations appear to be possible. However, it is also shown that good physical reasons for preferring standard signal synchronizations exist, if the Special Theory of Relativity yields correct predictions. The thesis of the conventionality of distant simultaneity espoused particularly by Reichenbach and Grunbaum is thus either trivialized or refuted
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Citations of this work BETA
Allen I. Janis (2007). Simultaneity, Relativity and Conventionality. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 39 (1):217-224.
Brian Ellis (1971). On Conventionality and Simultaneity - a Reply. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 49 (2):177 – 203.
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