David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
It is routinely assumed that Einstein discovered the relativity of simultaneity by thinking about how clocks can be synchronized by light signals, much in accord with the analysis he gave in his 1905 special relativity paper. Yet that is just supposition. We have no real evidence that it actually happened this way. In later recollections, Einstein stressed the importance of several thought experiments in the thinking that led up to the final theory. They include his chasing a light beam thought experiment and his magnet and conductor thought experiment. They do not include thought experiments on clocks and their synchronization. My goal here is to show that other pathways to the relativity of simultaneity are quite plausible. In several places Einstein stressed the importance in his discovery of special relativity of stellar aberration and Fizeau's measurement of the speed of light in moving water. The results can be seen as direct observational expressions of the relativity of simultaneity, if one knows how to read them. I will suggest that, thanks to his knowledge of Lorentz's 1895 Versuch, Einstein did know how to read them, and that it is quite possible that these observations first led Einstein to the relativity of simultaneity.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
John Norton, Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and the Problems in the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies That Led Him to It.
Max Born (1965). Einstein's Theory of Relativity. New York, Dover Publications.
Frank Jackson & Robert Pargetter (1977). Relative Simultaneity in the Special Relativity. Philosophy of Science 44 (3):464-474.
John D. Norton (2009). How Hume and Mach Helped Einstein Find Special Relativity. In Michael Friedman, Mary Domski & Michael Dickson (eds.), Discourse on a New Method: Reinvigorating the Marriage of History and Philosophy of Science. Open Court. 359--86.
Max Jammer (2006). Concepts of Simultaneity: From Antiquity to Einstein and Beyond. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Dennis Dieks, The Adolescence of Relativity: Einstein, Minkowski, and the Philosophy of Space and Time.
Peter A. Bowman (1976). Einstein's Second Treatment of Simultaneity. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1976:71 - 81.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads79 ( #21,476 of 1,679,362 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #183,761 of 1,679,362 )
How can I increase my downloads?