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  1. [Early First Draft] Must Minkowski Spacetime Be Categorized as Pseudoscience? (Revisiting the Legitimacy of Mansouri-Sexl Test Theory).Shiva Meucci - manuscript
    Here we discuss and hope to solve a problem rooted in the necessity of the study of historical science, the slow deviation of physics education over the past century, and how the loss of crucial contextual tool has debilitated discussion of a very important yet specialized physics sub-topic: the isotropy of the one-way speed of light. Most notably, the information that appears to be most commonly missing is not simply the knowledge of the historical fact that Poincare and Lorentz presented (...)
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  2. Conventionalism About Time Direction.Matt Farr - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-21.
    In what sense is the direction of time a matter of convention? In 'The Direction of Time', Hans Reichenbach makes brief reference to parallels between his views about the status of time’s direction and his conventionalism about geometry. In this article, I: (1) provide a conventionalist account of time direction motivated by a number of Reichenbach’s claims in the book; (2) show how forwards and backwards time can give equivalent descriptions of the world despite the former being the ‘natural’ direction (...)
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  3. Figures of Light in the Early History of Relativity (1905-1914).Scott A. Walter - 2018 - In David E. Rowe, Tilman Sauer & Scott A. Walter (eds.), Einstein Studies. New York, USA: Birkhäuser. pp. 3-50.
    Albert Einstein's bold assertion of the form-invariance of the equation of a spherical light wave with respect to inertial frames of reference became, in the space of six years, the preferred foundation of his theory of relativity. Early on, however, Einstein's universal light-sphere invariance was challenged on epistemological grounds by Henri Poincaré, who promoted an alternative demonstration of the foundations of relativity theory based on the notion of a light-ellipsoid. Drawing in part on archival sources, this paper shows how an (...)
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  4. Ether and Electrons in Relativity Theory.Scott A. Walter - 2018 - In Jaume Navarro (ed.), Ether and Modernity. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 67-87.
    This chapter discusses the roles of ether and electrons in relativity theory. One of the most radical moves made by Albert Einstein was to dismiss the ether from electrodynamics. His fellow physicists felt challenged by Einstein’s view, and they came up with a variety of responses, ranging from enthusiastic approval, to dismissive rejection. Among the naysayers were the electron theorists, who were unanimous in their affirmation of the ether, even if they agreed with other aspects of Einstein’s theory of relativity. (...)
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  5. Review of Poincaré, Philosopher of Science. [REVIEW]Nathan Lackey & Cory Wright - 2016 - Philosophy in Review 36 (4):157–159.
  6. Chronometric Explanations.Giuliano Torrengo - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (1):275-287.
    In this paper I present a problem for the conventionalist regarding temporal metrics, and I defend an objectivist position on the ground of its explanatory force. Roughly, the conventionalist has it that there is no fact of the matter with respect to the truth or falsity of judgments of the kind “event e1 lasted as long as event e2”, while the objectivist thinks that they are grounded in objective features of space-time. I argue that, by positing grounds for judgments of (...)
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  7. Conventionalism About What? Where Duhem and Poincaré Part Ways.Milena Ivanova - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:80-89.
    This paper examines whether, and in what contexts, Duhem’s and Poincaré’s views can be regarded as conventionalist or structural realist. After analysing the three different contexts in which conventionalism is attributed to them – in the context of the aim of science, the underdetermination problem and the epistemological status of certain principles – I show that neither Duhem’s nor Poincaré’s arguments can be regarded as conventionalist. I argue that Duhem and Poincaré offer different solutions to the problem of theory choice, (...)
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  8. Conventionalism, Structuralism and Neo-Kantianism in Poincaré’s Philosophy of Science.Milena Ivanova - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):114-122.
    Poincaré is well known for his conventionalism and structuralism. However, the relationship between these two theses and their place in Poincaré׳s epistemology of science remain puzzling. In this paper I show the scope of Poincaré׳s conventionalism and its position in Poincaré׳s hierarchical approach to scientific theories. I argue that for Poincaré scientific knowledge is relational and made possible by synthetic a priori, empirical and conventional elements, which, however, are not chosen arbitrarily. By examining his geometric conventionalism, his hierarchical account of (...)
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  9. The Dynamical Approach as Practical Geometry.Syman Stevens - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1152-1162.
    This article introduces Harvey Brown and Oliver Pooley’s ‘dynamical approach’ to special relativity, and argues that it may be construed as a relationalist form of Einstein’s ‘practical geometry’. This construal of the dynamical approach is shown to be compatible with related chapters of Brown’s text and also with recent descriptions of the dynamical approach by Pooley and others.
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  10. Making Time: A Study in the Epistemology of Measurement.E. Tal - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axu037.
    This article develops a model-based account of the standardization of physical measurement, taking the contemporary standardization of time as its central case-study. To standardize the measurement of a quantity, I argue, is to legislate the mode of application of a quantity-concept to a collection of exemplary artefacts. Legislation involves an iterative exchange between top-down adjustments to theoretical and statistical models regulating the application of a concept, and bottom-up adjustments to material artefacts in light of remaining gaps. The model-based account clarifies (...)
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  11. Poincaré on Clocks in Motion.Scott A. Walter - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 47:131-141.
    Recently-discovered manuscripts throw new light on Poincaré’s discovery of the Lorentz group, and his ether-based interpretation of the Lorentz transformation. At first, Poincaré postulated longitudinal contraction of bodies in motion with respect to the ether, and ignored time deformation. In April, 1909, he acknowledged temporal deformation due to translation, obtaining thereby a theory of relativity more compatible with those of Einstein and Minkowski.
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  12. David Hyder. The Determinate World: Kant and Helmholtz on the Physical Meaning of Geometry. Viii + 229 Pp., Bibl., Index. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2009. $105. [REVIEW]Gary Hatfield - 2012 - Isis 103 (4):769-770.
    David Hyder.The Determinate World: Kant and Helmholtz on the Physical Meaning of Geometry. viii + 229 pp., bibl., index. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2009.
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  13. Simultaneity, Convention, and Gauge Freedom.Robert Rynasiewicz - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (2):90-94.
    As is well know from Einstein the choice of a criterion for distant simultaneity is equivalent to stipulating one-way speeds for the transit of light. It is shown that any choice of non-standard synchrony is equivalent to a Lorentz local time boost. From this and considerations from the hole argument, it follows that there is a non-trivial sense in which distant simultaneity is conventional, at least to the extent that the “gauge freedom” arising in the hole argument is non-trivial.
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  14. Transcendental Idealism Among the Jersey Metaphysicians.Gordon Belot - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (3):429 - 438.
    Some questions are posed for van Fraassen, concerning the role and status of metaphysics in his Scientific Representation.
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  15. Synthesis, the Synthetic a Priori, and the Origins of Modern Space-Time Theory.Robert DiSalle - 2010 - In Michael Friedman, Mary Domski & Michael Dickson (eds.), Discourse on a New Method: Reinvigorating the Marriage of History and Philosophy of Science. Open Court.
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  16. Hypothesis and Convention in Poincaré’s Defense of Galilei Spacetime.Scott Walter - 2009 - In Michael Heidelberger & Gregor Schiemann (eds.), The Significance of the Hypothetical in the Natural Sciences. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 193-219.
    According to the conventionalist doctrine of space elaborated by the French philosopher-scientist Henri Poincaré in the 1890s, the geometry of physical space is a matter of definition, not of fact. Poincaré’s Hertz-inspired view of the role of hypothesis in science guided his interpretation of the theory of relativity (1905), which he found to be in violation of the axiom of free mobility of invariable solids. In a quixotic effort to save the Euclidean geometry that relied on this axiom, Poincaré extended (...)
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  17. Comment On: “The Role of Dynamics in the Synchronization Problem”, by Hans C. Ohanian.Alan Macdonald - 2005 - American Journal of Physics 73 (2).
    Hans C. Ohanian 1 claims to “defeat” the conventionalist thesis of clock synchronization using an argument based on dynamics. My aim here is to show that his argument does not succeed.
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  18. On the Cartesian Ontology of General Relativity: Or, Conventionalism in the History of the Substantival‐Relational Debate.Edward Slowik - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1312-1323.
    Utilizing Einstein’s comparison of General Relativity and Descartes’ physics, this investigation explores the alleged conventionalism that pervades the ontology of substantival and relationist conceptions of spacetime. Although previously discussed, namely by Rynasiewicz and Hoefer, it will be argued that the close similarities between General Relativity and Cartesian physics have not been adequately treated in the literature—and that the disclosure of these similarities bolsters the case for a conventionalist interpretation of spacetime ontology.
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  19. List of Contents: Volume 16, Number 6, December 2003.Ettore Minguzzi, Alan Macdonald & Universal One-Way Light Speed - 2004 - Foundations of Physics 34 (3).
    This paper gives two complete and elementary proofs that if the speed of light over closed paths has a universal value c, then it is possible to synchronize clocks in such a way that the one-way speed of light is c. The first proof is an elementary version of a recent proof. The second provides high precision experimental evidence that it is possible to synchronize clocks in such a way that the one-way speed of light has a universal value. We (...)
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  20. Convenzione E Razionalita Scientifica in Henri Poincare by Mirella Fortino. [REVIEW]Jean Mawhin - 1999 - Isis 90:613-614.
  21. La vérité en géométrie: sur le rejet mathématique de la doctrine conventionnaliste.Scott A. Walter - 1997 - Philosophia Scientiae 2 (3):103-135.
    The reception of Poincaré’s conventionalist doctrine of space by mathematicians is studied for the period 1891–1911. The opposing view of Riemann and Helmholtz, according to which the geometry of space is an empirical question, is shown to have swayed several geometers. This preference is considered in the context of changing views of the nature of space in theoretical physics, and with respect to structural and social changes within mathematics. Included in the latter evolution is the emergence of non-Euclidean geometry as (...)
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  22. "Coordinative Definition" and Reichenbach's Semantic Framework: A Reassessment.Lionel Stefan Shapiro - 1994 - Erkenntnis 41 (3):287 - 323.
    Reichenbach's Philosophy of Space and Time (1928) avoids most of the logical positivist pitfalls it is generally held to exemplify, notably both conventionalism and verificationism. To see why, we must appreciate that Reichenbach's interest lies in how mathematical structures can be used to describe reality, not in how words like 'distance' acquire meaning. Examination of his proposed "coordinative definition" of congruence shows that Reichenbach advocates a reductionist analysis of the relations figuring in physical geometry (contrary to common readings that attribute (...)
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  23. On the Marzke-Wheeler and Desloge Constructions.Alan Macdonald - 1992 - Foundations Of Physics Letters 3:493.
    There is no indication of time dilation of clocks or of length contraction of rods in Marzke and Wheeler's clock or in Desloge's metrosphere.
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  24. Relativity and Geometry.Roberto Torretti - 1983 - Dover Publications.
    This high-level study discusses Newtonian principles and 19th-century views on electrodynamics and the aether. Additional topics include Einstein's electrodynamics of moving bodies, Minkowski spacetime, gravitational geometry, time and causality, and other subjects. Highlights include a rich exposition of the elements of the special and general theories of relativity.
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  25. Absolute Space and Conventionalism.David Zaret - 1979 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30 (3):211-226.
  26. In Defense of Duhem.Francis Seaman - 1965 - Philosophy of Science 32 (3/4):287-294.
    Adolph Grünbaum has argued that Duhem's conventionalism is false for the case of Euclidean geometry. According to Duhem, any portion of a physical theory can be preserved from falsifiability by providing suitable modifications elsewhere in the theory. Grünbaum argues that physical theory is composed of two parts: A geometrical part H, and a physical part A. For his test case—Euclidean geometry—he contends that by a suitable specification of A, a falsification of H is possible; i.e., H can be rendered “accessible (...)
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  27. Science and Method.Henri Poincaré - 1952 - Dover Publications.
    " Vivid . . . immense clarity . . . the product of a brilliant and extremely forceful intellect." — Journal of the Royal Naval Scientific Service "Still a sheer joy to read." — Mathematical Gazette "Should be read by any student, teacher or researcher in mathematics." — Mathematics Teacher The originator of algebraic topology and of the theory of analytic functions of several complex variables, Henri Poincare (1854–1912) excelled at explaining the complexities of scientific and mathematical ideas to lay (...)
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  28. A Curiosity About Newtonian Gravity V. 2.0.Paul Merriam - manuscript