Using Finsler brane solutions [see details and methods in: S. Vacaru, Class. Quant. Grav. 28:215001, 2011], we show that neutrinos may surpass the speed of light in vacuum which can be explained by trapping effects from gravity theories on eight dimensional (co) tangent bundles on Lorentzian manifolds to spacetimes in general and special relativity. In nonholonomic variables, the bulk gravity is described by Finsler modifications depending on velocity/momentum coordinates. Possible super-luminal phenomena are determined by the width of locally (...) anisotropic brane (spacetime) and induced by generating functions and integration functions and constants in coefficients of metrics and nonlinear connections. We conclude that Finsler brane gravity trapping mechanism may explain neutrino super-luminal effects and almost preserve the paradigm of Einstein relativity as the standard one for particle physics and gravity. (shrink)
Motivation and perspective for an exciting new research direction interconnecting logic, spacetime theory, relativity--including such revolutionary areas as black hole physics, relativistic computers, new cosmology--are presented in this paper. We would like to invite the logician reader to take part in this grand enterprise of the new century. Besides general perspective and motivation, we present initial results in this direction.
We want to consider anew the question, which is recurrent along the history of philosophy, of the relationship between rationality and mathematics, by inquiring to which extent the structuration of rationality, which ensures the unity of its function under a variety of forms (and even according to an evolution of these forms), could be considered as homeomorphic with that of mathematical thought, taken in its movement and made concrete in its theories. This idea, which is as old as philosophy (...) itself, although it has not been dominant, has still been present to some degree in the thought of modern science, in Descartes as well as in Kant, Poincaré or Einstein (and a few other scientists and philosophers). It has been often harshly questioned, notably in the contemporaneous period, due to the failure of the logistic programme, as well as to the variety of “empirical” knowledges, and, in a general way, to the character of knowledges that show them as transitory, evolutive and mind-built. However, the analysis of scientific thought through its inventive and creative processes leads to characterize this thought as a type of rational form whose configurations can be detailed rather precisely. In this work we shall propose, first, a quick sketch of some philosophical requirements for such a research programme, among which the need for an harmonization, and even a conciliation, between the notions of rational (or rationality), of intuitive grasp and of creative thought. Then we shall examine some processes of creative scientific thought bearing on the knowledge and the understanding of the world, distinct from mathematics although keeping tight relations with them. Contemporary physical theories are privileged witnesses in this respect, for in them the rational thought of phenomena makes an intrinsic use of mathematical thought, which contributes to the structuration of the formers and to the expression of their concepts (which entails the physical contents of the latter). The General Theory of Relativity and the Quantum Theory are exemplar to this, as they directly reveal what can be called the “drag of physical thought par the mathematical form”, which makes possible to overcome the limitations of the physical knowledge previously adquired. This process is tightly related to the modalities and to the stucture of the rational thought underlying it. This is what we would like to show. DOI:10.5007/1808-1711.2011v15n2p303. (shrink)
Among the different approaches to questions of biomedical ethics, there is a view that stresses the importance of a patient’s right to make her own decisions in evaluative questions concerning her own well-being. This approach, the autonomy-based approach to biomedical ethics, has usually led to the adoption of a subjective theory of well-being on the basis of its commitment to the value of autonomy and to the view that well-being is always relative to a subject. In this article, it is (...) argued that these two commitments need not lead to subjectivism concerning the nature of well-being. (shrink)
This excellent, semi-technical account includes a review of classical physics (origin of space and time measurements, Ptolemaic and Copernican astronomy, laws of motion, inertia, and more) and coverage of Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity, discussing the concept of simultaneity, kinematics, Einstein’s mechanics and dynamics, and more.
Summary It is here shown that the relativistic doctrine of the relativity of simultaneity is untenable and that both the special and general theories of relativity are inconsistent. It is also shown that the theories can perhaps be made consistent, but excessively weak, through the reintroduction of absolute space and a weakening of the Lorentz transformations. Non-relativistic hypotheses for some events thought to require relativity are suggested. Finally, some conjectures are made on how so wrong (...) a theory could have been accepted by so many for so long. (shrink)
I discuss a rarely mentioned correspondence between Einstein and Swann on the constructive approach to the special theory of relativity, in which Einstein points out that the attempts to construct a dynamical explanation of relativistic kinematical effects require postulating a fundamental length scale in the level of the dynamics. I use this correspondence to shed light on several issues under dispute in current philosophy of spacetime that were highlighted recently in Harvey Brown’s monograph Physical Relativity, namely, Einstein’s view (...) on the distinction between principle and constructive theories, and the consequences of pursuing the constructive approach in the context of spacetime theories. r 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
The paper (given in the section on "Recent work in the History of Philosophy of Science) discusses the method and some of the results of the doctoral dissertation on philosophical interpretations of Einstein's special and general theories of relativity, submitted to the Dept. for History of Science, Univ. of Hamburg, in 1989, also published by Birkhauser, Basel, in 1990. It is claimed that many of the gross oversimplifications, misunderstandings and misinterpretations occurring in more than 2500 texts about the (...)theories of relativity written by scientists, philosophers, and laymen contemporary to Einstein can in fact serve as a clue to a better understanding of the general process by which philosophical interpretations are formed. Another very important source for answering the question of how misinterpretations are formed are hitherto unpublished documents in the estates of physicists and philosophers of that time, including apart from Einstein himself: Bergson, Bridgman, Carnap, Cassirer, Metz, Meyerson, Petzoldt, Reichenbach, Schlick and Vaihinger. (shrink)
Modern readers turning to Einstein’s famous 1905 paper on special relativity may not find what they expect. Its title, “On the electrodynamics of moving bodies,” gives no inkling that it will develop an account of space and time that will topple Newton’s system. Even its first paragraph just calls to mind an elementary experimental result due to Faraday concerning the interaction of a magnet and conductor. Only then does Einstein get down to the business of space and time and (...) lay out a new theory in which rapidly moving rods shrink and clocks slow and the speed of light becomes an impassable barrier. This special theory of relativity has a central place in modern physics. As the first of the modern theories, it provides the foundation for particle physics and for Einstein’s general theory of relativity; and it is the last point of agreement between them. It has also received considerable attention outside physics. It is the first port of call for philosophers and other thinkers, seeking to understand what Einstein did and why it changed everything. It is often also their last port. The theory is arresting enough to demand serious reflection and, unlike quantum theory and general relativity, its essential content can be grasped fully by someone merely with a command of simple algebra. It contains Einstein’s analysis of simultaneity, probably the most celebrated conceptual analysis of the century. (shrink)
Many philosophers have claimed that we might do well to adopt a hybrid theory of well-being: a theory that incorporates both an objective-value constraint and a pro-attitude constraint. Hybrid theories are attractive for two main reasons. First, unlike desire theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about the problem of defective desires. This is so because, unlike desire theories, hybrid theories place an objective-value constraint on well-being. Second, unlike objectivist theories of well-being, hybrid (...)theories need not worry about being overly alienating. This is so because, unlike objectivist theories, hybrid theories place a pro-attitude constraint on well-being. However, from the point of view of objectivists, hybrid theories are not objectivist enough, and this can be seen clearly in missing-desires cases. For instance, hybrid theories entail that, if someone lacks the desire for health, then health is not a component of her well-being. This, objectivists say, is implausible. It is obvious, objectivists say, that someone’s life goes better for herself inasmuch as she is healthy, and hence that health is a component of her welfare. This paper focuses on the missing-desires objection (as leveled by objectivists) to hybrid theories of well-being. My argument is that the missing-desires objection can be answered in a way that is generally convincing and, in particular, in a way that pays a good deal of respect to objectivist intuitions about well-being. My hope, then, is that this paper will help to persuade objectivists about well-being to become hybrid theorists. (shrink)
The paper draws attention to an important, but apparently neglected distinction relating to axiomatic theories of truth, viz. the distinction between weakly and strongly truth-compositional theories of truth. The paper argues that the distinction might be helpful in classifying weak axiomatic theories of truth and examines some of them with respect to it.
The aim of this paper is to elucidate the question of whether Newtonian mechanics can be derived from relativity theory. Physicists agree that classical mechanics constitutes a limiting case of relativity theory. By contrast, philosophers of science like Kuhn and Feyerabend affirm that classical mechanics cannot be deduced from relativity theory because of the incommensurability between both theories; thus what we obtain when we take the limit c in relativistic mechanics cannot be Newtonian mechanics sensu stricto. (...) In this paper I focus on the alleged change of reference of the term mass in the transition from one theory to the other. Contradicting Kuhn and Feyerabend, special relativity theory supports the view that the mass of an object is a characteristic property of the object, that it has the same value in whatever frame of reference it is measured, and that it does not depend on whether the object is in motion or at rest. Thus mass preserves the reference through the change of theory, and the existence of a Newtonian limit of relativity theory provides a good example of the rationality of theory change in mathematical physics. (shrink)
It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation (e.g. those of Dretske, Fodor, and Millikan) have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them.
Some mental states are about themselves. Nothing is a cause of itself. So some mental states are not about their causes; they are about things distinct from their causes. If this argument is sound, it spells trouble for causal theories of mental content—the precise sort of trouble depending on the precise sort of causal theory. This paper shows that the argument is sound (§§1-3), and then spells out the trouble (§4).
In recent years, experimental philosophers have questioned the reliance of philosophical arguments on intuitions elicited by thought experiments. These challenges seek to undermine the use of this methodology for a particular domain of theorizing, and in some cases to raise doubts about the viability of philosophical work in the domain in question. The topic of semantic reference has been an important area for discussion of these issues, one in which critics of the reliance on intuitions have made particularly strong claims (...) about the prospects for philosophical theories of reference and arguments based on claims about reference. In this article, I review the main lines of argument in this area of experimental philosophy, with particular emphasis on the relevance of empirical data about intuitions to philosophical views. I argue that although traditional philosophical theorizing about reference faces little threat from experimental data about intuitions, there is nevertheless much to be gained from collecting and analyzing such data, which holds the promise of greatly enriching our conception of the mechanisms governing judgments about semantic reference in ways that are highly relevant to philosophers. (shrink)
Several decades ago, Christopher Boorse formulated an influential statistical theory of normative biological functions but it has often been claimed that his theory suffers from insuperable problems such as an inability to handle cases of epidemic and universal diseases. This paper develops a new statistical theory of normative functions that is capable of dealing with the notorious problem of epidemic and universal diseases. The theory is also more detailed than its predecessors and offers other important advantages over them. It is (...) argued here that statistical theories of biological functions should not be so quickly dismissed. (shrink)
That space and time should be integrated into a single entity, spacetime, is the great insight of Einstein's special theory of relativity, and leads us to regard spacetime as a fundamental context in which to make sense of the world around us. But it is not the only one. Causality is equally important and at least as far as the special theory goes, it cannot be subsumed under a fundamentally geometrical form of explanation. In fact, the agent of propagation (...) of causal influence is electromagnetic radiation. In this examination, the authors find support for a rationalist approach to physics, never neglecting experimentation, but rejecting a simple empiricist or positivist view of science. (shrink)
This is an updated (25 April 2013) and revised version (after one iteration with referees) of a draft of the book on the notion of fundamental length I have been writing for the last couple of years, covering issues in the philosophy of math, metaphysics, and the history and the philosophy of modern physics, from classical electrodynamics to current theories of quantum gravity.
The present paper is meant to summarise and enlighten the theoretical implications of the twin theories of text comprehension and of text compression. Compatibility and non-exclusiveness of particle-like analysis of language and wave-like analysis of intentionality are also demonstrated within the newly established quantum linguistics framework. The informative state of language is viewed as being relatively stable; once activated and subject to motion, therefore reaching a communicative state, different phenomena occur, which may be observed, analysed and visualised through CPP-TRS (...) observational devices. Relativity theory may therefore be organised in terms of quanta with continuity and no contradiction. (shrink)
Inertial frames and Lorentz transformations have a preferred status in the special theory of relativity (STR). Lorentz transformations, in turn, embody Einstein's convention that the velocity of light is isotropic, a convention that is necessary for the establishment of a standard signal synchrony. If the preferred status of Lorentz transformations in STR is not due to some particular bias introduced by a convention on signal synchronism, but to the fact that the Lorentz transformation group is the symmetry group of (...) the theory, then the signal synchronism is not a matter of convention but rather a matter of fact. In order to explore the conventionalist thesis, that within the frame of STR isotropy in the velocity of light and, hence, signal synchronism is a matter of convention, we need a generalized Lorentz transformation group that does not embody Einstein's isotropy convention, and upon which STR can be based. We present here a new approach to the resulting search for a generalized STR, which is well suited for establishing some well-known results of Winnie as well as some new results. (shrink)
It is said that the theory of relativity and quantum theory are independent of each other. Their relationship is like water and oil. Now, it is very important for modern physics to synthesize them. In Physics and mathematics, Super String theory is studied, but instead of it, the tendimensional world appears. Our world is a three-dimensional world . What is the ten-dimensional world? It is more difficult than the string which is of Plank length. In the ten dimensional world, (...) physics is facing darkness and nothingness which man can not explain with the traditional physical words.The solution depends upon philosophy. I tried to synthesize themand succeeded.The following is an outline of my synthesis. 1. Utility and relativity of mathematical truth Mathematical truth is not absolute but relative. In the universe ( outside the solar system ), there is no perfect line. Because, by the gravitation of large astronomical bodies, space and lines are curved. Mathematical figure and numeration depend upon the promise of mankind. These are not absolute. Physics, which is grounded upon mathematics in certainty, is also relative. It expresses not the whole of the universe but a part of the universe. 2. Community and difference between the theory of relativity and quantum theory Community is the negation of absoluteness of physical attributes. Difference is the assessment for mathematics. The theory of relativity relies on mathematics but quantumtheory does not always rely on it. According to circumstances, Niels Bohr and quantum physicists abandoned a frame of reference. 3. The origin of the theory of relativity 4. The origin of quantum theory In short, the theory of relativity and quantum theory are not perfect, they only irradiate a part of the universe. Man can reach the whole of the universe only by the philosophical intuition of nothingness and infinite (the principle of nothingness and love). (shrink)
In this paper two different approaches to unification will be compared, Relational Blockworld (RBW) and Hiley’s implicate order. Both approaches are monistic in that they attempt to derive matter and spacetime geometry ‘at once’ in an interdependent and background independent fashion from something underneath both quantum theory and relativity. Hiley’s monism resides in the implicate order via Clifford algebras and is based on process as fundamental while RBW’s monism resides in spacetimematter via path integrals over graphs whereby space, time (...) and matter are co-constructed per a global constraint equation. RBW’s monism therefore resides in being (relational blockworld) while that of Hiley’s resides in becoming (elementary processes). Regarding the derivation of quantum theory and relativity, the promises and pitfalls of both approaches will be elaborated. Finally, special attention will be paid as to how Hiley’s process account might avoid the blockworld implications of relativity and the frozen time problem of canonical quantum gravity. (shrink)
In this paper we examine Ellis and Bowman's argument, that simultaneity in inertial frames of reference is not conventional, from the axiomatic point of view. In Part I we examine the role of conventions in an axiomatic physical theory, and in Part II the relation of simultaneity in Reichenbach's axiomatization of the space-time theory of special relativity.
The axiomatic approaches of quantum mechanics and relativity theory are compared with approaches in which the theories are thought to describe readings of certain measurement operations. The usual axioms are shown to correspond with classes of ideal measurements. The necessity is discussed of generalizing the formalisms of both quantum mechanics and relativity theory so as to encompass more realistic nonideal measurements. It is argued that this generalization favours an empiricist interpretation of the mathematical formalisms over a realist (...) one. (shrink)
The axiomatic approaches of quantum mechanics and relativity theory are compared with approaches in which the theories are thought to describe readings of certain measurement operations. The usual axioms are shown to correspond with classes of ideal measurements. The necessity is discussed of generalizing the formalisms of both quantum mechanics and relativity theory so as to encompass more realistic nonideal measurements. It is argued that this generalization favours an empiricist interpretation of the mathematical formalisms over a realist (...) one. (shrink)
In this paper, I start with the opposition between the Husserlian project of a phenomenology of the experience of time, started in 1905, and the mathematical and physical theory of time as it comes out of Einstein’s special theory of relativity in the same year. Although the contrast between the two approaches is apparent, my aim is to show that the original program of Husserl’s time theory is the constitution of an objective time and a time of the world, (...) starting from the intuitive giveness of time, i.e., from time as it appears. To show this, I stress the structural similarity between Husserl’s original question of time and the problem of a phenomenology of space constitution as it was first developed in the his manuscripts from the nineteenth century, in which we find the threefold question of the origin of our representation of space, of the geometrization of intuitive space, and of the constitution of transcendent world space. Finally, I reconsider some of Husserl’s main theses about the phenomenological constitution of objective time in light of the main results of special relativity time-theory, introducing several corrections to central assumptions that underlie Husserl’s theory of time. (shrink)
An examination of time as featured in the General Theory of Relativity, which supercedes Einstein’s Special Theory, serves to rekindle the issue of the existenceof absolute time. In application to cosmology, Einstein’s General Theory yields models of the universe featuring a worldwide time which is the same for all observers in the universe regardless of their relative motion. Such a cosmic time is a rough physical measure of Newton’s absolute time, which is based ontologically in the duration of God’s (...) being and is more or less accurately recorded by physical clocks. (shrink)
Max Jammer has recently proposed a model of God's eternity based on the special theory of relativity, offering it as an example of how theologians should take into account what physicists say about the world. I start evaluating this proposal by a quick look at the classic Boethius-Aquinas model of divine eternity. The major objection I advance against Jammer refers to Einstein's subtle kind of realism. I offer various reasons to show that Einstein's realism was minimal. Moreover, even this (...) minimal realism has been undermined by recent experimental work. If Jammer is suggesting that theologians should take Einstein's physics seriously because it describes the world, his argument is unconvincing because it doesn't address the crucial question of Einstein's realism, which makes all the difference. /// O artigo toma em consideração o modelo acerca da eternidade de Deus baseado na teoria especial da relatividade de Einstein recentemente proposto por Max Jammer, autor que considera ser este um exemplo de como os teólogos deveriam tomar em consideração aquilo que os físicos dizem acerca do mundo. O autor do artigo começa por fazer uma avaliação desta proposta mediante uma breve referência ao modelo clássico de Boécio e S. Tomás acerca da eternidade divina. A principal objecção levantada pelo artigo contra Jammer tem a ver com a forma subtil de realismo de Einstein. Segundo o autor do artigo, o realismo de Einstein era mínimo. Mais ainda, mesmo este realismo mínimo foi minado por trabalhos experimentais mais recentes. Com efeito, se Jammer sugere que os teólogos devem tomar a sério a física de Einstein baseados na presunção de que esta descreve o mundo, então o seu argumento, diz o autor do artigo, não convence na medida em que não trata da questão crucial acerca do realismo de Einstein, questão esta que sem dúvida faz toda a diferença. (shrink)
: This essay presents aspects of the philosophy of nature of Nishida Kitarō (1870–1945) (Kyoto School) and its relation to the physics of his day. Which aspects of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity are treated in Nishida’s Logic of Field? Through exact explanations of the fundamental differences between physics and philosophy this essay aims to clarify the construction of logic in philosophy and physics while considering interdisciplinary aspects.
This essay presents aspects of the philosophy of nature of Nishida Kitarō (1870-1945) (Kyoto School) and its relation to the physics of his day. Which aspects of Einstein's Theory of Relativity are treated in Nishida's Logic of Field? Through exact explanations of the fundamental differences between physics and philosophy this essay aims to clarify the construction of logic in philosophy and physics while considering interdisciplinary aspects.
In the exuberance that followed Einstein’s discoveries, philosophers at one time or another have proposed that his theories support virtually every conceivable moral in ontology. I present an opinionated assessment, designed to avoid this overabundance. We learn from Einstein’s theories of novel entanglements of categories once held distinct: space with time; space and time with matter; and space and time with causality. We do not learn that all is relative, that time in the fourth dimension in any non-trivial (...) sense, that coordinate systems and even geometry are conventional or that spacetime should be reduced ontologically to causal, spatio-temporal or other relations. (shrink)
The fact that a group of axioms use the word 'true' does not guarantee that that group of axioms yields a theory of truth. For Davidson the derivability of certain biconditionals from the axioms is what guarantees this. We argue that the test does not work. In particular, we argue that if the object language has truth-value gaps, the result of applying Davidson''s definition of a theory of truth is that no correct theory of truth for the language is possible.
This paper offers a novel way of reconstructing conceptual change in empirical theories. Changes occur in terms of the structure of the dimensions—that is to say, the conceptual spaces—underlying the conceptual framework within which a given theory is formulated. Five types of changes are identified: (1) addition or deletion of special laws, (2) change in scale or metric, (3) change in the importance of dimensions, (4) change in the separability of dimensions, and (5) addition or deletion of dimensions. Given (...) this classification, the conceptual development of empirical theories becomes more gradual and rationalizable. Only the most extreme type—replacement of dimensions—comes close to a revolution. The five types are exemplified and applied in a case study on the development within physics from the original Newtonian mechanics to special relativity theory. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the debate between subjective and objective theories of prudential value obscures the way in which elements of both are needed for a comprehensive theory of prudential value. I suggest that we characterize these two types of theory in terms of their different aims: procedural (or subjective) theories give an account of the necessary conditions for something to count as good for a person, while substantive (or objective) theories give an account of (...) what is good for a person, given some set of necessary conditions. Characterizing the theories in this way allows us to see their mutual compatibility. To make this case, I assume that a theory of prudential value ought to be descriptively and normatively adequate. The criterion of descriptive adequacy requires that our theory explain the subject relativity of prudential value. I characterize subject relativity in terms of justifiability to subjects and I argue that certain procedural theories are well suited to meet this criterion. The criterion of normative adequacy requires that our theory be capable of guiding action and I argue that a certain kind of substantive theory is needed to meet this requirement. (shrink)
It is hypothesized that de Broglie’s ‘matter waves’ provide a dynamical basis for Minkowski spacetime in an antisubstantivalist or relational account. The relativity of simultaneity is seen as an effect of the de Broglie oscillation together with a basic relativity postulate, while the dispersion relation from finite rest mass gives rise to the differentiation of spatial and temporal axes. Thus spacetime is seen as not fundamental, but rather as emergent from the quantum level. A result by Solov’ev which (...) demonstrates that time is not an applicable concept at the quantum level is adduced in support of this claim. Finally, it is noted that de Broglie waves can be seen as the “bridge of becoming” discussed by ( 2005 ). (shrink)
It has been repeatedly argued, most recently by Nicholas Maxwell, that the special theory of relativity is incompatible with the view that the future is in some degree undetermined; and Maxwell contends that this is a reason to reject that theory. In the present paper, an analysis is offered of the notion of indeterminateness (or "becoming") that is uniquely appropriate to the special theory of relativity, in the light of a set of natural conditions upon such a notion; (...) and reasons are given for regarding this conception as (not just formally consistent with relativity theory, but also) philosophically reasonable. The bearings upon Maxwell's program for quantum theory are briefly considered. (shrink)
The present paper suggests relative truth definability as a tool for comparing conceptual aspects of axiomatic theories of truth and gives an overview of recent developments of axiomatic theories of truth in the light of it. We also show several new proof-theoretic results via relative truth definability including a complete answer to the conjecture raised by Feferman in .
In a recent paper, Howard Stein makes a number of criticisms of an earlier paper of mine ('Are Probabilism and Special Relativity Incompatible?', Phil. Sci., 1985), which explored the question of whether the idea that the future is genuinely 'open' in a probabilistic universe is compatible with special relativity. I disagree with almost all of Stein's criticisms.
The physicist's conception of space-time underwent two major upheavals thanks to the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. Both theories play a fundamental role in describing the same natural world, although at different scales. However, the inconsistency between them emerged clearly as the limitation of twentieth-century physics, so a more complete description of nature must encompass general relativity and quantum mechanics as well. The problem is a theorists' problem par excellence. Experiment provide little guide, and the (...) inconsistency mentioned above is an important problem which clearly illustrates the intermingling of philosophical, mathematical, and physical thought. In fact, in order to unify general relativity with quantum field theory, it seems necessary to invent a new mathematical framework which will generalise Riemannian geometry and therefore our present conception of space and space-time. Contemporary developments in theoretical physics suggest that another revolution may be in progress, through which a new kind of geometry may enter physics, and space-time itself can be reinterpreted as an approximate, derived concept. The main purpose of this article is to show the great significance of space-time geometry in predetermining the laws which are supposed to govern the behaviour of matter, and further to support the thesis that matter itself can be built from geometry, in the sense that particles of matter as well as the other forces of nature emerges in the same way that gravity emerges from geometry. Scientific research is not a process of steady accumulation of absolute truths, which has culminated in present theories, but rather a much more dynamic kind of process in which there are no final theoretical concepts valid in unlimited domains. (David Bohm). (shrink)
The paper compares ontic structural realism in quantum physics with ontic structural realism about space–time. We contend that both quantum theory and general relativity theory support a common, contentful metaphysics of ontic structural realism. After recalling the main claim of ontic structural realism and its physical support, we point out that both in the domain of quantum theory and in the domain of general relativity theory, there are objects whose essential ways of being are certain relations so that (...) these objects do not possess an intrinsic identity. Nonetheless, the qualitative, physical nature of these relations is in the quantum case (entanglement) fundamentally different from the classical, metrical relations treated in general relativity theory. (shrink)
Summary The present paper constitutes an elaboration of a previous work by one of us which, among other things, proposed some modifications of Popper's tetradic schema. Here, in the first part, we consider critically and develop further these modifications and elaborate on methods which prove more satisfactory for the mapping of the problem solving processes in Physics. We also find the opportunity to make some comments on Physics and on its relation to Mathematics. In the second part, there is an (...) attempt to test the above ideas on the genesis and development of the Special Relativity Theory. In doing this, we concentrate mainly on Einstein's 1905 paper and try to explicitate its relation with the situation Physics found itself in that period as well as to clarify the epistemological status of Einstein's two postulates. (shrink)
Much of the history of physics at the beginning of the twentieth century has been written with a sharp focus on a few key figures and a handful of notable events. Einstein’s Generation offers a distinctive new approach to the origins of modern physics by exploring both the material culture that stimulated relativity and the reaction of Einstein’s colleagues to his pioneering work. Richard Staley weaves together the diverse strands of experimental and theoretical physics, commercial instrument making, and the (...) sociology of physics around 1900 to present a complete view of the collective efforts of a group whose work helped set the stage for Einstein’s revolutionary theories and the transition from classical to modern physics that followed. Collecting papers, talks, catalogues, conferences, and correspondence, Staley juxtaposes scientists’ views of relativity at the time to modern understandings of its history. Ultimately, Einstein’s Generation tells the story of a group of individuals whose work engendered some of the most significant advances of the twentieth century—and challenges our celebration of Einstein’s era above all others. (shrink)
We have demonstrated, using the Cantor dust method, that the statistical distribution of appearance and disappearance of rodents species (Arvicolid rodent radiation in Europe) follows power laws strengthening the evidence for a fractal structure set. Self-similar laws have been used as model for the description of a huge number of biological systems. With Nottale we have shown that log-periodic behaviors of acceleration or deceleration can be applied to branching macroevolution, to the time sequences of major evolutionary leaps (global life tree, (...) sauropod and theropod dinosaurs postural structures, North American fossil equids, rodents, primates and echinoderms clades and human ontogeny). The Scale-Relativity Theory has others biological applications from linear with fractal behavior to non-linear and from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics. (shrink)
Einstein’s special theory of relativity has had a wide influence on fields far removed from physics. It has given the impression that physics has shown that there are now no absolute truths, that all beliefs are relative to the observer, and that traditional stable landmarks have been washed away. We each have our own frame of reference that is as good as any other frame, so that there are no absolute standards by which our actions may be judged. The (...) predictions of relativity theory, such as the elimination of simultaneity, the variation of mass with velocity, and the equivalence of mass and energy, are all highly counterintuitive and yet are precisely confirmed by detailed measurements. The clear rocklike mechanical physics of Newton seems to have dissolved into a swirling mist of unintelligible concepts, and familiar certainties seem to have disappeared. A detailed analysis of relativity theory shows, however, a completely different picture. Properly understood, it is a logical extension of Newtonian physics that expresses the relations of space and time in a more exact and elegant way and in the process shows forth more clearly the invariant features of the world. The apparently counterintuitive features appear as natural consequences that extend and refine our classical concepts. The traditional landmarks remain, but God’s world is more subtle than we had previously imagined. (shrink)
A comparison of disjunctive theories of action and perception. The development of a theory of action that warrants the name, a disjunctive theory. On this theory, there is an exclusive disjunction: either an action or an event (in one sense). It follows that in that sense basic actions do not have events intrinsic to them.
In this paper, I argue that the causal and description theories of natural kind term reference involve certain psychological elements. My main goal is to refine these theories with the help of empirical psychology of concepts, and to argue that the refinement process ultimately leads to the dissolution of boundaries between the two kinds of theories. However, neither the refined theories nor any other existing theories provide an adequate answer to the question of what makes (...) natural kind terms rigid. To provide an answer to this question I conclude my paper by introducing a framework of a unified theory of natural kind term reference that is built on the empirical psychology of concepts. (shrink)
In the transition to Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity (SR), certain concepts that had previously been thought to be univocal or absolute properties of systems turn out not to be. For instance, mass bifurcates into (i) the relativistically invariant proper mass m0, and (ii) the mass relative to an inertial frame in which it is moving at a speed v = βc, its relative mass m, whose quantity is a factor γ = (1 – β2) -1/2 times the proper (...) mass, m = γm0. (shrink)
Ever since the now infamous comments made by Hermann Minkowski in 1908 concerning the proper way to view space-time, the debate has raged as to whether or not the universe should be viewed as a four-dimensional, unified whole wherein the past, present, and future are equally real or whether the views espoused by the possibilists, historicists, and presentists regarding the unreality of the future (and, for presentists, the past) are best. Now, a century after Minkowski’s proposed blockworld first sparked debate, (...) we seek a more conclusive argument in favor of the eternalist picture of space-time. Utilizing an argument based on the relativity of simultaneity in the tradition of Putnam and Rietdijk and novel but reasonable assumptions as to the nature of “reality”, we will show that the past, present, and future are equally real, thus ruling out presentism and other theories of time that bestow special ontological status to the past, present, or future as untenable. Finally, we will respond to our critics who would suggest that: 1) there is no metaphysical difference between the positions of eternalism and presentism, 2) the present must be defined as the “here” as well as the “now”, or 3) presentism is correct and our understanding of relativity is incomplete because it does not incorporate a preferred frame. We call eternalist response 1 deflationary since it purports to dissolve or deconstruct the age-old debate between the two views and response 2 compatibilist because it does nothing to alter special relativity (SR) arguing instead that SR unadorned has the resources to save presentism. Response 3 we will call incompatibilism because it adorns SR in some way in order to save presentism a la some sort of preferred frame. We will show that neither move 1 nor 2 can save presentism and move 3 is not well motivated at this juncture except as an ad hoc device to refute eternalism. (shrink)
One of the most important disputes in the foundations of ethics concerns the source of practical reasons. On the desire-based view, only one’s desires provide one with reasons to act. On the value-based view, reasons are instead provided by the objective evaluative facts, and never by our desires. Similarly, there are desire-based and non-desired-based theories about two other issues: pleasure and welfare. It has been argued, and is natural to think, that holding a desire-based theory about either pleasure or (...) welfare commits one to recognizing that desires do provide reasons for action – i.e., commits one to abandoning the value-based theory of reasons. The purpose of this paper is to show that this is not so. All of the following can be true: pleasure and welfare provide reasons; pleasure and welfare are to be understood in terms of desire; desires never provide reasons, in the relevant way. (shrink)
Abstract The historical evolution of the principle of relativity from Galileo to Einstein is briefly traced, and purported difficulties with Einstein's formulation of the principle are examined and dismissed. This formulation is then compared to a precise version formulated recently in the geometrical language of spacetime theories. We claim that the recent version is both logically puzzling and fails to capture a crucial physical insight contained in the earlier formulations. The implications of this claim for the modern treatment (...) of general dynamical symmetries are discussed. (shrink)
In this paper I draw on Einstein's distinction between “principle” and “constructive” theories to isolate two levels of physical theory that can be found in both classical and (special) relativistic physics. I then argue that when we focus on theoretical explanations in physics, i.e. explanations of physical laws, the two leading views on explanation, Salmon's “bottom-up” view and Kitcher's “top-down” view, accurately describe theoretical explanations for a given level of theory. I arrive at this conclusion through an analysis of (...) explanations of mass—energy equivalence in special relativity. (shrink)
In a preceding paper, I studied the significance of Jarrett's and Shimony's analyses of 'factorisability' into 'parameter independence' and 'outcome independence' for clarifying the nature of non-locality in quantum phenomena. I focused on four types of non-locality; superluminal signalling, action-at-a-distance, non-separability and holism. In this paper, I consider a fifth type of non-locality: superluminal causation according to 'logically weak' concepts of causation, where causal dependence requires neither action nor signalling. I conclude by considering the compatibility of non-factorisable theories with (...)relativity theory. In this connection, I pay special attention to the difficulties that superluminal causation raises in relativistic spacetime. My main findings in this paper are: first, parameter-dependent and outcome-dependent theories both involve superluminal causal connections between outcomes and between settings and outcomes. Second, while relativistic deterministic parameter-dependent theories seem impossible on pain of causal paradoxes, relativistic indeterministic parameter-dependent theories are not subjected to the same challenge. Third, current relativistic non-factorisable theories seem to have some rather unattractive characteristics. (shrink)
It is common in the literature on electrodynamics and relativity theory that the transformation rules for the basic electrodynamical quantities are derived from the hypothesis that the relativity principle (RP) applies for Maxwell's electrodynamics. As it will turn out from our analysis, these derivations raise several problems, and certain steps are logically questionable. This is, however, not our main concern in this paper. Even if these derivations were completely correct, they leave open the following questions: (1) Is (RP) (...) a true law of nature for electrodynamical phenomena? (2) Are, at least, the transformation rules of the fundamental electrodynamical quantities, derived from (RP), true? (3) Is (RP) consistent with the laws of electrodynamics in one single inertial frame of reference? (4) Are, at least, the derived transformation rules consistent with the laws of electrodynamics in one single frame of reference? Obviously, (1) and (2) are empirical questions. In this paper, we will investigate problems (3) and (4). First we will give a general mathematical formulation of (RP). In the second part, we will deal with the operational definitions of the fundamental electrodynamical quantities. As we will see, these semantic issues are not as trivial as one might think. In the third part of the paper, applying what J. S. Bell calls “Lorentzian pedagogy”---according to which the laws of physics in any one reference frame account for all physical phenomena---we will show that the transformation rules of the electrodynamical quantities are identical with the ones obtained by presuming the covariance of the coupled Maxwell--Lorentz equations, and that the covariance is indeed satisfied. As to problem (3), the situation is much more complex. As we will see, the relativity principle is actually not a matter of the covariance of the physical equations, but it is a matter of the details of the solutions of the equations, which describe the behavior of moving objects. This raises conceptual problems concerning the meaning of the notion “the same system in a collective motion”. In case of electrodynamics, there seems no satisfactory solution to this conceptual problem; thus, contrary to the widespread views, the question we asked in the title has no obvious answer. (shrink)
Histories of kinematics and Einstein’s relativity theory: A collage of historiographies Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9532-6 Authors Giora Hon, Department of Philosophy, University of Haifa, 31905 Haifa, Israel Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Touch and sight : the earth and the heavens -- What happens and what is observed -- The velocity of light -- Clocks and foot-rules -- Space-time -- The special theory of relativity -- Intervals in space-time -- Einstein's law of gravitation -- Proofs of Einstein's law of gravitation -- Mass, momentum, energy, and action -- The expanding universe -- Conventions and natural laws -- The abolition of "force" -- What is matter? -- Philosophical consequences.
Universally recognized as bringing about a revolutionary transformation of the notions of space, time, and motion in physics, Einstein's theory of gravitation, known as "general relativity," was also a defining event for 20th century philosophy of science. During the decisive first ten years of the theory's existence, two main tendencies dominated its philosophical reception. This book is an extended argument that the path actually taken, which became logical empiricist philosophy of science, greatly contributed to the current impasse over realism, (...) whereas new possibilities are opened in revisiting and reviving the spirit of the more sophisticated tendency, a cluster of viewpoints broadly termed transcendental idealism, and furthering its articulation. It also emerges that Einstein, while paying lip service to the emerging philosophy of logical empiricism, ended up siding de facto with the latter tendency. Ryckman's work speaks to several groups, among them philosophers of science and historians of relativity. Equations are displayed as necessary, but Ryckman gives the non-mathematical reader enough background to understand their occurrence in the context of his wider philosophical project. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend a theory of local temporality, sometimes referred to as a point-present theory. This theory has the great advantage that it allows for the possibility of an open future without requiring any alterations to our standard understanding of special relativity. Such theories, however, have regularly been rejected out of hand as metaphysically incoherent. After surveying the debate, I argue that such a transformation of temporal concepts (i) is suggested by the indexical semantics of tense (...) in a relativistic universe, (ii) when properly understood easily withstands the usual accusations of metaphysical incoherence and (iii) leads naturally to a meta-philosophical position from which we can understand and escape the increasing sterility of debates between radical Parmenideans and radical Heracliteans in the philosophy of time. (shrink)
In this essay I present a statement of Quine's indeterminacy thesis in its general form. It is shown that the thesis is not about difficulties peculiar to so-called "radical translation." It is a general thesis about meaning and reference with important consequences for any theory of our theories and beliefs. It is claimed that the thesis is inconsistent with Quine's realism, his doctrine of the relativity of reference, and that the argument for the thesis has the consequence that (...) the concept of stimulus meaning is empty. The sense in which linguistic science, as a branch of behavioral science, is "part of physics" is discussed. An alternative to Quine's view of the nature and content of linguistic science is proposed. It is shown to be consistent with Quine's assumptions concerning the legitimate scope of behavioral science and not to involve the notions of analyticity, synonymy and "prevalent attitudes toward meaning, idea and proposition" (, p. 304) rejected by Quine. (shrink)
This paper and its predecessor () are about the question: 'Are the events in the entire universe encoded in and predictable from any of its parts?' To approach a positive answer in classical physics, the following result is proved and commented on: in Newton's theory of gravitation, the entire trajectory of a particle can be predicted given any segment of it, regardless of how the other particles are moving-provided that there is only a finite number of particles and that their (...) speeds remain bounded. (It is this condition, together with a set of parameters characterising the motion of the other particles, which enables us to estimate the effect of the other particles on the trajectory of the given particle.) The extension of this result to other theories, in particular to special relativity, is discussed. (shrink)
The A-theory of time has intuitive and metaphysical appeal, but suffers from tension, if not inconsistency, with the special and general theories of relativity (STR and GTR). The A-theory requires a notion of global simultaneity invariant under the symmetries of the world's laws, those ostensible transformations of the state of the world that in fact leave the world as it was before. Relativistic physics, if read in a realistic sense, denies that there exists any notion of global simultaneity (...) that is invariant under the symmetries of the world's laws. If physics is at least a decent guide to metaphysics--as sympathies for scientific realism would suggest--then relativistic physics supports the B-theory. If there were a physically natural way to modify the symmetries of the physical laws so as to remove those that are repugnant to the A-theory, while retaining empirical adequacy, then such an altered physics might be attractive to the A-theorist and would weaken the support given by relativity to the B-theory. I exhibit a way to do so here, displaying a Lagrangian density explicitly containing distant simultaneity, yet implying Einstein's field equations. The modification involves a change in the nature of the lapse function and makes use of the Dirac-Bergmann formalism of constrained dynamics, which recently has been discussed much by John Earman. Here this formalism is adapted slightly to permit both local and global generalized coordinates. A classification of senses in which time might be absolute or not is made along the way. Some suggestions for extending the work by finding a first principles motivation are made. An appendix outlines an argument why many local presents are insufficient and a global present is attractive, while two more appendices review the Dirac-Bergmann apparatus for GTR and then apply it to the theory at hand. (shrink)
The author proposes to add another dichotomy to the list of essential tensions proposed by Professor Duda, namely beauty and ugliness. Physicists believe that only beautiful theories describe the world correctly, and that General Relativity is one of the most beautiful physical theories. The author explains why physicists regard this theory as beautiful.
The dark matter problem in astrophysics exposes an underappreciated weakness in the evidential warrant for General Relativity (GR). The "dark matter double bind" entails that GR gets no differential evidential support from dynamical phenomena occurring at scales larger than our solar system, as compared to members of a significant class of rival gravitation theories. These rivals are each empirically indistinguishable from GR for phenomena taking place at solar system scales, but make predictions that may differ radically from GR's (...) at larger scales. Thus the typical confidence in the universal applicability of GR is insufficiently warranted in the present evidential context. (shrink)
Combining quantum mechanics with special relativity requires (i) that a spacetime representation of quantum states be found; (ii) that such states, represented as extended along equal-time hyperplanes, be invariant when transformed from one frame to another; and (iii) that collapses of states be instantaneous in every frame. These requirements are met using branching spacetime, in which probabilities of outcomes are represented by the numerical proportions of branches on which the outcomes occur. Quantum states of systems are then identified with (...) the probability values, built into spacetime along spacelike hypersurfaces, of all possible outcomes of all possible tests to which the systems can be subjected. (shrink)
A class of theories which satisfy the Relativity Principle has been overlooked. The kinematics for these theories is derived by relaxing the 'boost isotropy' symmetry normally invoked, and the role the dynamical fields play in determining the inertial coordinate systems is emphasised, leading to a criticism of Friedman's (1983) practice of identifying them via the absolute objects of a spacetime theory alone. Some theories complete with 'boost anisotropic' dynamics are given.
After a consideration of Reichenbach's and Winnie's axiomatizations of Special Relativity, three synchrony-free axioms which can be used to simultaneously axiomatize Special Relativity, Classical Aether Theory, and a threefold continuum of theories in between are suggested. The specific theory obtained from the axioms depends on the value of a parameter in each axiom. It is shown that the values of the three parameters are empirically determined by the Michelson-Morley, Kennedy-Thorndike, and Ives-Stilwell experiments.
This paper discusses Husserl’s views on physical theories in the first volume of his Logical Investigations , and compares them with those of his contemporaries Pierre Duhem and Henri Poincaré. Poincaré’s views serve as a bridge to a discussion of Husserl’s almost unknown views on physical geometry from about 1890 on, which in comparison even with Poincaré’s—not to say Frege’s—or almost any other philosopher of his time, represented a rupture with the philosophical tradition and were much more in tune (...) with the physical geometry underlying the Einstein-Hilbert general theory of relativity developed more than two decades later. (shrink)
According to a widely accepted reading of the "Ethics," Spinoza subscribes to a desire-satisfaction theory of value. A desire-satisfaction theory says that what has value is the satisfaction of one’s desires and whatever leads to the satisfaction of one’s desires. In this paper I argue that this standard reading is incorrect, and I show that in Spinoza’s view the foundation of what is truly valuable is the perfection of a person’s essence, not the satisfaction of a person’s desires.
A plausible line of thought runs as follows. If P is a semantically primitive predicate of a first order language L, then P requires its own clause in the definition of satisfaction integral to a definition of truth for L. Thus if L has infinitely many such P the satisfaction clause cannot be completed nor can a theory of truth for L. Robert Cummins takes issue with this line of argument. This paper takes issue with Cummins.
We define a new theory of concatenation WTC which is much weaker than Grzegorczyk's well-known theory TC. We prove that WTC is mutually interpretable with the weak theory of arithmetic R. The latter is, in a technical sense, much weaker than Robinson's arithmetic Q, but still essentially undecidable. Hence, as a corollary, WTC is also essentially undecidable.
A proof is given that there does not exist an event, that is not already in the past for some possible distant observer at the (our) moment that the latter is "now" for us. Such event is as "legally" past for that distant observer as is the moment five minutes ago on the sun for us (irrespective of the circumstance that the light of the sun cannot reach us in a period of five minutes). Only an extreme positivism: "that which (...) cannot yet be observed does not yet exist", can possibly withstand the conclusion concerned. Therefore, there is determinism, also in micro-physics. (shrink)
The philosophical literature on time and change is fixated on the issue of whether the B-series account of change is adequate or whether real change requires Becoming of either the property-based variety of McTaggart's A-series or the non-property-based form embodied in C. D. Broad's idea of the piling up of successive layers of existence. For present purposes it is assumed that the B-series suffices to ground real change. But then it is noted that modern science in the guise of Einstein's (...) general theory poses a threat to real change by implying that none of the genuine physical magnitudes countenanced by the theory changes its value with time. The aims of this paper are to explain how this seemingly paradoxical conclusion arises and to assess the merits and demerits of possible reactions to it. (shrink)
According to probabilistic theories of reasoning in psychology, people's degree of belief in an indicative conditional `if A, then B' is given by the conditional probability, P(B|A). The role of language pragmatics is relatively unexplored in the new probabilistic paradigm. We investigated how consequent relevance aects participants' degrees of belief in conditionals about a randomly chosen card. The set of events referred to by the consequent was either a strict superset or a strict subset of the set of events (...) referred to by the antecedent. We manipulated whether the superset was expressed using a disjunction or a hypernym. We also manipulated the source of the dependency, whether in long-term memory or in the stimulus. For subset-consequent conditionals, patterns of responses were mostly conditional probability followed by conjunction. For superset-consequent conditionals, conditional probability responses were most common for hypernym dependencies and least common for disjunction dependencies, which were replaced with responses indicating inferred consequent irrelevance. Conditional probability responses were also more common for knowledge-based than stimulus-based dependencies. We suggest. (shrink)
David Malament's (1977) well-known result, which is often taken to show the uniqueness of the Poincare-Einstein convention for defining simultaneity, involves an unwarranted physical assumption: that any simultaneity relation must remain invariant under temporal reflections. Once that assumption is removed, his other criteria for defining simultaneity are also satisfied by membership in the same backward (forward) null cone of the family of such cones with vertices on an inertial path. What is then unique about the Poincare-Einstein convention is that it (...) is independent of the choice of inertial path in a given inertial frame, confirming a remark in Einstein 1905. Similarly, what is unique about the backward (forward) null cone definition is that it is independent of the state of motion of an observer at a point on the inertial path. (shrink)