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  1. Scribbling on the Blank Sheet: Eddington's Structuralist Conception of Objects.Steven French - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 34 (2):227-259.
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  • The Principle of Equivalence as a Criterion of Identity.Ryan Samaroo - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3481-3505.
    In 1907 Einstein had the insight that bodies in free fall do not “feel” their own weight. This has been formalized in what is called “the principle of equivalence.” The principle motivated a critical analysis of the Newtonian and special-relativistic concepts of inertia, and it was indispensable to Einstein’s development of his theory of gravitation. A great deal has been written about the principle. Nearly all of this work has focused on the content of the principle and whether it has (...)
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  • On the Argument from Physics and General Relativity.Christopher Gregory Weaver - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):333-373.
    I argue that the best interpretation of the general theory of relativity has need of a causal entity, and causal structure that is not reducible to light cone structure. I suggest that this causal interpretation of GTR helps defeat a key premise in one of the most popular arguments for causal reductionism, viz., the argument from physics.
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  • Hertz's Researches and Their Place in Nineteenth Century Theoretical Physics.Salvo D'Agostino - 1993 - Centaurus 36 (1):46-77.
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  • The Rejection of the Ricci Tensor in Einstein's First Tensorial Theory of Gravitation.Giulio Maltese - 1991 - Archive for History of Exact Sciences 41 (4):363-381.
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  • Thought Experiments and The Pragmatic Nature of Explanation.Panagiotis Karadimas - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-24.
    Different why-questions emerge under different contexts and require different information in order to be addressed. Hence a relevance relation can hardly be invariant across contexts. However, what is indeed common under any possible context is that all explananda require scientific information in order to be explained. So no scientific information is in principle explanatorily irrelevant, it only becomes so under certain contexts. In view of this, scientific thought experiments can offer explanations, should we analyze their representational strategies. Their representations involve (...)
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  • Perverted Space-Time Geodesy in Einstein’s Views on Geometry.Mario Bacelar Valente - 2018 - Philosophia Scientae 22:137-162.
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  • Substantivalist and Relationalist Approaches to Spacetime.Oliver Pooley - 2013 - In Robert Batterman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oxford University Press.
    Substantivalists believe that spacetime and its parts are fundamental constituents of reality. Relationalists deny this, claiming that spacetime enjoys only a derivative existence. I begin by describing how the Galilean symmetries of Newtonian physics tell against both Newton's brand of substantivalism and the most obvious relationalist alternative. I then review the obvious substantivalist response to the problem, which is to ditch substantival space for substantival spacetime. The resulting position has many affinities with what are arguably the most natural interpretations of (...)
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  • Philosophy of Science A Personal Peek Into the Future.Steven French & Michela Massimi - 2013 - Metaphilosophy 44 (3):230-240.
    In this opinion piece, the authors offer their personal and idiosyncratic views of the future of the philosophy of science, focusing on its relationship with the history of science and metaphysics, respectively. With regard to the former, they suggest that the Kantian tradition might be drawn upon both to render the history and philosophy of science more relevant to philosophy as a whole and to overcome the challenges posed by naturalism. When it comes to the latter, they suggest both that (...)
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  • Philosophy of Science A Personal Peek Into the Future.Michela Massimi Steven French - 2013 - Metaphilosophy 44 (3):230-240.
    In this opinion piece, the authors offer their personal and idiosyncratic views of the future of the philosophy of science, focusing on its relationship with the history of science and metaphysics, respectively. With regard to the former, they suggest that the Kantian tradition might be drawn upon both to render the history and philosophy of science more relevant to philosophy as a whole and to overcome the challenges posed by naturalism. When it comes to the latter, they suggest both that (...)
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  • Newtonian Equivalence Principles.James Read & Nicholas J. Teh - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-25.
    The equivalence principle has constituted one of the cornerstones of discussions in the foundations of spacetime theories over the past century. However, up to this point the principle has been considered overwhelmingly only within the context of relativistic physics. In this article, we demonstrate that the principle has much broader, super-theoretic significance: to do so, we present a unified framework for understanding the principle in its various guises, applicable to both relativistic and Newtonian contexts. We thereby deepen significantly our understanding (...)
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  • Gravitational and Nongravitational Energy: The Need for Background Structures.Vincent Lam - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1012-1024.
    The aim of this paper is to discuss some aspects of the nature gravitational energy within the general theory of relativity. Some aspects of the difficulties to ascribe the usual features of localization and conservation to gravitational energy are reviewed and considered in the light of the dual of role of the dynamical gravitational field, which encodes both inertio-gravitational effects and the chronogeometrical structures of spacetime. These considerations will lead us to discuss the fact that the very notion of energy (...)
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  • On Identifying Background-Structure in Classical Field Theories.Ryan Samaroo - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1070-1081.
    I examine a property of theories called "background-independence" that Einsteinian gravitation is thought to exemplify. This concept has figured in the work of Rovelli (2001, 2004), Smolin (2006), Giulini (2007), and Belot (2011), among others. I propose and evaluate a few candidates for background-independence, and I show that there is something chimaerical about the concept. I argue, however, that there is a proposal that clarifies the feature of Einsteinian gravitation that motivates the concept.
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  • Identity, Space-Time, and Cosmology.Jan Faye - unknown
    Modern cosmology treats space and time, or rather space-time, as concrete particulars. The General Theory of Relativity combines the distribution of matter and energy with the curvature of space-time. Here space-time appears as a concrete entity which affects matter and energy and is affected by the things in it. I question the idea that space-time is a concrete existing entity which both substantivalism and reductive relationism maintain. Instead I propose an alternative view, which may be called non-reductive relationism, by arguing (...)
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  • Conventionalism and Modern Physics: A Re-Assessment.Robert DiSalle - 2002 - In Emily Carson & Renate Huber (eds.), Noûs. Springer. pp. 181--211.
  • Against ‘Functional Gravitational Energy’: A Critical Note on Functionalism, Selective Realism, and Geometric Objects and Gravitational Energy.Patrick M. Duerr - 2019 - Synthese 199 (S2):299-333.
    The present paper revisits the debate between realists about gravitational energy in GR and anti-realists/eliminativists. I re-assess the arguments underpinning Hoefer’s seminal eliminativist stance, and those of their realist detractors’ responses. A more circumspect reading of the former is proffered that discloses where the so far not fully appreciated, real challenges lie for realism about gravitational energy. I subsequently turn to Lam and Read’s recent proposals for such a realism. Their arguments are critically examined. Special attention is devoted to the (...)
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  • Friedman׳s Thesis.Ryan Samaroo - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):129-138.
    This essay examines Friedman's recent approach to the analysis of physical theories. Friedman argues against Quine that the identification of certain principles as ‘constitutive’ is essential to a satisfactory methodological analysis of physics. I explicate Friedman's characterization of a constitutive principle, and I evaluate his account of the constitutive principles that Newtonian and Einsteinian gravitation presuppose for their formulation. I argue that something close to Friedman's thesis is defensible.
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  • The Constitutive a Priori and the Distinction Between Mathematical and Physical Possibility.Jonathan Everett - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):139-152.
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  • Theory (In-)Equivalence and Conventionalism in F(R) Gravity.Patrick M. Duerr - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 88:10-29.
  • The Forgotten Tradition: How the Logical Empiricists Missed the Philosophical Significance of the Work of Riemann, Christoffel and Ricci.Marco Giovanelli - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (6):1219-1257.
    This paper attempts to show how the logical empiricists’ interpretation of the relation between geometry and reality emerges from a “collision” of mathematical traditions. Considering Riemann’s work as the initiator of a 19th century geometrical tradition, whose main protagonists were Helmholtz and Poincaré, the logical empiricists neglected the fact that Riemann’s revolutionary insight flourished instead in a non-geometrical tradition dominated by the works of Christoffel and Ricci-Curbastro roughly in the same years. I will argue that, in the attempt to interpret (...)
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  • Coordinates and Covariance: Einstein's View of Space-Time and the Modern View. [REVIEW]John Norton - 1989 - Foundations of Physics 19 (10):1215-1263.
    Where modern formulations of relatively theory use differentiable manifolds to space-time, Einstein simply used open sets of R 4 , following the then current methods of differential geometry. This fact aids resolution of a number of outstanding puzzles concerning Einstein's use of coordinate systems and covariance principles, including the claimed physical significance of covariance principles, their connection to relativity principles, Einstein's apparent confusion of coordinate systems and frames of reference, and his failure to distinguish active and passive transformations, especially in (...)
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  • Gödel, Einstein, Mach: Casting Constraints on All-Embracing Concepts. [REVIEW]Giora Hon - 2004 - Foundations of Science 9 (1):25-64.
    Can a theory turn back, as it were, upon itselfand vouch for its own features? That is, canthe derived elements of a theory be the veryprimitive terms that provide thepresuppositions of the theory? This form of anall-embracing feature assumes a totality inwhich there occurs quantification over thattotality, quantification that is defined bythis very totality. I argue that the Machprinciple exhibits such a feature ofall-embracing nature. To clarify the argument,I distinguish between on the one handcompleteness and on the other wholeness andtotality, (...)
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  • Perverted Space-Time Geodesy in Einstein’s Views on Geometry.Mario Bacelar Valente - 2018 - Philosophia Scientiae 22:137-162.
    A perverted space-time geodesy results from the idea of variable rods and clocks, whose length and rates are taken to be affected by the gravitational field. By contrast, what we might call a concrete geodesy relies on the idea of invariable unit-measuring rods and clocks. Indeed, this is a basic assumption of general relativity. Variable rods and clocks lead to a perverted geodesy, in the sense that a curved space-time may be seen as a result of a departure from the (...)
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  • The Equivalence Principle(S).Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2021 - In Eleanor Knox & Alistair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics.
    I discuss the relationship between different versions of the equivalence principle in general relativity, among them Einstein's equivalence principle, the weak equivalence principle, and the strong equivalence principle. I show that Einstein's version of the equivalence principle is intimately linked to his idea that in GR gravity and inertia are unified to a single field, quite like the electric and magnetic field had been unified in special relativistic electrodynamics. At the same time, what is now often called the strong equivalence (...)
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  • Two Miracles of General Relativity.James Read, Harvey R. Brown & Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:14-25.
    We approach the physics of \emph{minimal coupling} in general relativity, demonstrating that in certain circumstances this leads to violations of the \emph{strong equivalence principle}, which states that, in general relativity, the dynamical laws of special relativity can be recovered at a point. We then assess the consequences of this result for the \emph{dynamical perspective on relativity}, finding that potential difficulties presented by such apparent violations of the strong equivalence principle can be overcome. Next, we draw upon our discussion of the (...)
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  • False Vacuum: Early Universe Cosmology and the Development of Inflation.Chris Smeenk - 2005 - In Jean Eisenstaedt & A. J. Knox (eds.), The Universe of General Relativity. Boston: Birkhauser. pp. 223-257.
  • 'No Success Like Failure ...': Einstein's Quest for General Relativity, 1907-1920.Michel Janssen - unknown
    This is the chapter on general relativity for the Cambridge Companion to Einstein which I am co-editing with Christoph Lehner.
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  • A Conjecture on Einstein, the Independent Reality of Spacetime Coordinate Systems and the Disaster of 1913.John D. Norton - 2005 - In .
    Two fundamental errors led Einstein to reject generally covariant gravitational field equations for over two years as he was developing his general theory of relativity. The first is well known in the literature. It was the presumption that weak, static gravitational fields must be spatially flat and a corresponding assumption about his weak field equations. I conjecture that a second hitherto unrecognized error also defeated Einstein's efforts. The same error, months later, allowed the hole argument to convince Einstein that all (...)
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  • Einstein’s Conflicting Heuristics: The Discovery of General Relativity.John D. Norton - unknown
    Einstein located the foundations of general relativity in simple and vivid physical principles: the principle of equivalence, an extended principle of relativity and Mach's principle. While these ideas played an important heuristic role in Einstein's thinking, they provide a dubious logical foundation for his final theory. Einstein was also guided to his final theory, I argue, by a second tier of more prosaic heuristics. I trace one strand among them. The principle of equivalence guided Einstein well until it led him (...)
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  • Happiest Thoughts: Great Thought Experiments of Modern Physics.Kent A. Peacock - unknown
    This is a review of those key thought experiments in physics from the late 19th century onward that seem to have played a particular role in the process of the discovery or advancement of theory. Among others the paper discusses Maxwell's demon, several of Einstein's thought experiments in relativity, Heisenberg's microscope, the Einstein-Schrödinger cat, and the EPR thought experiment.
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  • Some Disputed Aspects of Inertia, with Particular Reference to the Equivalence Principle.Ryan S. Samaroo - 2013 - Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario
    This thesis is a contribution to the foundations of space-time theories. It examines the proper understanding of the Newtonian and 1905 inertial frame concepts and the critical analysis of these concepts that was motivated by the equivalence principle. This is the hypothesis that it is impossible to distinguish locally between a homogeneous gravitational field and a uniformly accelerated frame. The three essays that comprise this thesis address, in one way or another, the criteria through which the inertial frame concepts are (...)
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  • El Principio de Equivalencia En Gravedad Cuántica.Elias Okon - 2013 - Metatheoria – Revista de Filosofía E Historia de la Ciencia 3:65--80.
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  • Relativity and Equivalence in Hilbert Space: A Principle-Theory Approach to the Aharonov–Bohm Effect.Guy Hetzroni - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (2):120-135.
    This paper formulates generalized versions of the general principle of relativity and of the principle of equivalence that can be applied to general abstract spaces. It is shown that when the principles are applied to the Hilbert space of a quantum particle, its law of coupling to electromagnetic fields is obtained. It is suggested to understand the Aharonov-Bohm effect in light of these principles, and the implications for some related foundational controversies are discussed.
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  • Schlick, Conventionalism, and Scientific Revolutions.Steven Bland - 2012 - Acta Analytica 27 (3):307-323.
    Abstract Schlick quite clearly maintains that the shift from classical physics to the theories of relativity is not necessitated by experience, but motivated by the pragmatic payoff of simplifying space-time ontology. However, there is in his work another, heretofore unrecognized argument for the revolutionary shift from classical to relativistic physics. According to this conceptual line of argument, the principles that define simultaneity and motion in classical physics fail to establish a univocal correspondence to physical quantities, and therefore must be revised, (...)
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  • Did Einstein Stumble? The Debate Over General Covariance.John D. Norton - 1995 - Erkenntnis 42 (2):223 - 245.
    The objection that Einstein's principle of general covariance is not a relativity principle and has no physical content is reviewed. The principal escapes offered for Einstein's viewpoint are evaluated.
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  • Reconsidering Relativistic Causality.Jeremy Butterfield - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (3):295 – 328.
    I discuss the idea of relativistic causality, i.e., the requirement that causal processes or signals can propagate only within the light-cone. After briefly locating this requirement in the philosophy of causation, my main aim is to draw philosophers' attention to the fact that it is subtle, indeed problematic, in relativistic quantum physics: there are scenarios in which it seems to fail. I set aside two such scenarios, which are familiar to philosophers of physics: the pilot-wave approach, and the Newton-Wigner representation. (...)
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  • Drawing the Line Between Kinematics and Dynamics in Special Relativity.Michel Janssen - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (1):26-52.
    In his book, Physical Relativity, Harvey Brown challenges the orthodox view that special relativity is preferable to those parts of Lorentz's classical ether theory it replaced because it revealed various phenomena that were given a dynamical explanation in Lorentz's theory to be purely kinematical. I want to defend this orthodoxy. The phenomena most commonly discussed in this context in the philosophical literature are length contraction and time dilation. I consider three other phenomena of this kind that played a role in (...)
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  • `Nature is the Realisation of the Simplest Conceivable Mathematical Ideas': Einstein and the Canon of Mathematical Simplicity.John D. Norton - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 31 (2):135-170.
    Einstein proclaimed that we could discover true laws of nature by seeking those with the simplest mathematical formulation. He came to this viewpoint later in his life. In his early years and work he was quite hostile to this idea. Einstein did not develop his later Platonism from a priori reasoning or aesthetic considerations. He learned the canon of mathematical simplicity from his own experiences in the discovery of new theories, most importantly, his discovery of general relativity. Through his neglect (...)
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  • Drawing the Line Between Kinematics and Dynamics in Special Relativity.Michel Janssen - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (1):26-52.
    In his book, Physical Relativity, Harvey Brown challenges the orthodox view that special relativity is preferable to those parts of Lorentz's classical ether theory it replaced because it revealed various phenomena that were given a dynamical explanation in Lorentz's theory to be purely kinematical. I want to defend this orthodoxy. The phenomena most commonly discussed in this context in the philosophical literature are length contraction and time dilation. I consider three other phenomena of this kind that played a role in (...)
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  • General Relativity as a Hybrid Theory: The Genesis of Einstein's Work on the Problem of Motion.Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 67:176-190.
  • What Can We Learn About the Ontology of Space and Time From the Theory of Relativity?John D. Norton - 2000
    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 (...)
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  • Einstein, the Reality of Space, and the Action-Reaction Principle.Dennis Lehmkuhl, P. Ghose & Harvey Brown - unknown
    Einstein regarded as one of the triumphs of his 1915 theory of gravity - the general theory of relativity - that it vindicated the action-reaction principle, while Newtonian mechanics as well as his 1905 special theory of relativity supposedly violated it. In this paper we examine why Einstein came to emphasise this position several years after the development of general relativity. Several key considerations are relevant to the story: the connection Einstein originally saw between Mach's analysis of inertia and both (...)
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  • Reason and Method in Einstein’s Relativity.Hisham Ghassib - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (4):331-342.
    ABSTRACTRelativity was Einstein’s main research programme and scientific project. It was an open-ended programme that developed throughout Einstein’s scientific career, giving rise to special relativity, general relativity, and unified field theory. In this article, we want to uncover the methodological logic of the Einsteinian programme, which animated the whole programme and its development, and as it was revealed in SR, GR, and unified field theory. We aver that the same methodological logic animated all these theories as Einstein’s work progressed. Each (...)
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  • A Faradayan Principle for Selecting Classical Field Theories.Olivier Darrigol - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):35 – 55.
    Faraday's field concept presupposes that field stresses should share the axial symmetry of the lines of force. In the present article, the field dynamics is similarly required to depend only on field properties that can be tested through the motion of test-particles. Precise expressions of this 'Faradayan' principle in field-theoretical language are shown to severely restrict the form of classical field theories. In particular, static forces must obey the inverse square law in a linear approximation. Within a Minkowskian and Lagrangian (...)
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  • Does Quantum Mechanics Clash with the Equivalence Principle—and Does It Matter?Elias Okon & Craig Callender - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1):133-145.
    With an eye on developing a quantum theory of gravity, many physicists have recently searched for quantum challenges to the equivalence principle of general relativity. However, as historians and philosophers of science are well aware, the principle of equivalence is not so clear. When clarified, we think quantum tests of the equivalence principle won’t yield much. The problem is that the clash/not-clash is either already evident or guaranteed not to exist. Nonetheless, this work does help teach us what it means (...)
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  • On the Explanation of Inertia.Adán Sus - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (2):293-315.
    In General Relativity (GR), it has been claimed that inertia receives a dynamical explanation. This is in contrast to the situation in other theories, such as Special Relativity, because the geodesic principle of GR can be derived from Einstein’s field equations. The claim can be challenged in different ways, all of which question whether the status of inertia in GR is physically different from its status in previous spacetime theories. In this paper I state the original argument for the claim (...)
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  • Relativity Reign O’Er Me.Steven French - 2007 - Metascience 16 (3):397-436.
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  • Frames and Stresses in Einstein's Quest for a Generalized Theory of Relativity.Olivier Darrigol - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 68:126-157.
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  • Einstein's Gravitation is Einstein-Grossmann's Equations.Alfonso Leon Guillen Gomez - 2015 - Journal of Advances in Physics 11 (3):3099-3110.
    While the philosophers of science discuss the General Relativity, the mathematical physicists do not question it. Therefore, there is a conflict. From the theoretical point view “the question of precisely what Einstein discovered remains unanswered, for we have no consensus over the exact nature of the theory 's foundations. Is this the theory that extends the relativity of motion from inertial motion to accelerated motion, as Einstein contended? Or is it just a theory that treats gravitation geometrically in the spacetime (...)
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  • Pendulums, Pedagogy, and Matter: Lessons From the Editing of Newton's Principia.Zvi Biener & Chris Smeenk - 2004 - Science & Education 13 (4-5):309-320.
    Teaching Newtonian physics involves the replacement of students’ ideas about physical situations with precise concepts appropriate for mathematical applications. This paper focuses on the concepts of ‘matter’ and ‘mass’. We suggest that students, like some pre-Newtonian scientists we examine, use these terms in a way that conflicts with their Newtonian meaning. Specifically, ‘matter’ and ‘mass’ indicate to them the sorts of things that are tangible, bulky, and take up space. In Newtonian mechanics, however, the terms are defined by Newton’s Second (...)
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