The Ideology of Relativity: The Case of the Clock Paradox

Social Epistemology 23 (1):57-78 (2009)
In the interwar period there was a significant school of thought that repudiated Einstein's theory of relativity on the grounds that it contained elementary inconsistencies. Some of these critics held extreme right-wing and anti-Semitic views, and this has tended to discredit their technical objections to relativity as being scientifically shallow. This paper investigates an alternative possibility: that the critics were right and that the success of Einstein's theory in overcoming them was due to its strengths as an ideology rather than as a science. The clock paradox illustrates how relativity theory does indeed contain inconsistencies that make it scientifically problematic. These same inconsistencies, however, make the theory ideologically powerful. The implications of this argument are examined with respect to Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper's accounts of the philosophy of science
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DOI 10.1080/02691720902741399
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K. R. Popper (1966). Conjectures and Refutations. Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.

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