On the role of special relativity in general relativity

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 11 (1):67 – 81 (1997)
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The existence of a definite tangent space structure (metric with Lorentzian signature) in the general theory of relativity is the consequence of a fundamental assumption concerning the local validity of special relativity. There is then at the heart of Einstein's theory of gravity an absolute element which depends essentially on a common feature of all the non-gravitational interactions in the world, and which has nothing to do with space-time curvature. Tentative implications of this point for the significance of the vacuum solutions in general relativity, and for the issue of quantising gravity, are briefly examined.



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Harvey R. Brown
Oxford University

Citations of this work

Fundamental and Emergent Geometry in Newtonian Physics.David Wallace - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):1-32.
Minkowski space-time: A glorious non-entity.Harvey R. Brown & Oliver Pooley - 2006 - In Dennis Geert Bernardus Johan Dieks (ed.), The ontology of spacetime. Boston: Elsevier. pp. 67--89.
Absolute objects and counterexamples: Jones--Geroch dust, Torretti constant curvature, tetrad-spinor, and scalar density.J. Brian Pitts - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37:347-71.
The Dynamical Approach as Practical Geometry.Syman Stevens - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1152-1162.

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References found in this work

What price spacetime substantivalism? The hole story.John Earman & John Norton - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (4):515-525.
Autobiographical Notes.Max Black, Albert Einstein & Paul Arthur Schilpp - 1949 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 15 (2):157.
Space-Time-Matter.Hermann Weyl - 1922 - London,: E.P. Dutton and Company. Edited by Henry L. Brose.

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