Foundations of Physics 42 (9):1115-1134 (2012)

Malament (Noûs 11:293–300, 1977) proved a certain uniqueness theorem about standard synchrony, also known as Poincaré-Einstein simultaneity, which has generated many commentaries over the years, some of them contradictory. We think that the situation called for some clarification. After reviewing and discussing some of the literature involved, we prove two results which, hopefully, will help clarifying this debate by filling the gap between the uniquess of Malament’s theorem, which allows the observer to use very few tools, and the complete arbitrariness of a time coordinate in full-fledged Relativity theory. In the spirit of Malament’s theorem, and in opposition to most of its commentators, we emphasize explicit definability of simultaneity relations, and give only constructive proofs. We also explore what happens when we reduce to “purely local” data with respect to an observer
Keywords Special relativity  Simultaneity  Conventionalism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10701-012-9649-5
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 56,949
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Axiomatization of the Theory of Relativity.Hans Reichenbach - 1969 - University of California Press.
Conventionality of Simultaneity.Allen Janis - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Uniqueness of Simultaneity.Domenico Giulini - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (4):651-670.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
29 ( #357,511 of 2,409,982 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #541,494 of 2,409,982 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes