David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
American Scientist 96 (1) (2008)
Max Jammer’s recent book, Concepts of Simultaneity: From Antiquity to Einstein and Beyond, traces the history of our ideas on simultaneity as they evolved alongside sweeping changes in our understanding of physics. One of the interesting lessons of the book is that, even as our physical theories have become increasingly successful, the question of the proper understanding or interpretation of those theories remains extremely puzzling. The central issue is this: Is the simultaneity of events a real feature of the world? Or does it depend on the particular choice of reference frame, with any such frame as good as any other? In ancient times, Jammer suggests, most people took the notion of simultaneity for granted: Two events were simultaneous if they happened at the same time. Simultaneity was considered an objective feature of the world. This simple idea appeared con rmed by classical Newtonian mechanics. In Newtonian physics different inertial reference frames (ones that move at a constant velocity relative to one another) are equally good (the laws of motion hold in all of them), even though some attributes of an object, say velocity or momentum, differ from one reference frame to another. However, some features, such as simultaneity, hold in all allowable reference frames and are thus frame independent and in some sense more objective. But what if two events whose simultaneity is in question took place far from each other? How would you know whether they were simultaneous? One solution (available for the last few centuries anyway) is for the observers of each event to look at their (previously synchronized) clocks. The question then becomes, How can clocks that are distant from one..
|Keywords||simultaneity spacetime inertial frames|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Adolf Grünbaum (2010). David Malament and the Conventionality of Simultaneity: A Reply. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 40 (9-10):1285-1297.
Frank Jackson & Robert Pargetter (1977). Relative Simultaneity in the Special Relativity. Philosophy of Science 44 (3):464-474.
Domenico Giulini (2001). Uniqueness of Simultaneity. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (4):651-670.
Sahotra Sarkar & John Stachel (1999). Did Malament Prove the Non-Conventionality of Simultaneity in the Special Theory of Relativity? Philosophy of Science 66 (2):208-220.
Vesselin Petkov (1989). Simultaneity, Conventionality and Existence. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 40 (1):69-76.
Jill North (2008). Book Review. Concepts of Simultaneity: From Antiquity to Einstein and Beyond. Max Jammer. [REVIEW] American Scienctist 98 (1).
Douglas M. Snyder (1994). On the Arbitrary Choice Regarding Which Inertial Reference Frame is "Stationary" and Which is "Moving" in the Special Theory of Relativity. Philosophical Explorations.
Max Jammer (2006). Concepts of Simultaneity: From Antiquity to Einstein and Beyond. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Added to index2009-04-24
Total downloads22 ( #177,673 of 1,911,104 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #457,075 of 1,911,104 )
How can I increase my downloads?