Bell's Spaceships Problem and the Foundations of Special Relativity

Francisco Fernflores
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Recent ?dynamical? approaches to relativity by Harvey Brown and his colleagues have used John Bell's own solution to a problem in relativity which has in the past sometimes been called ?Bell's spaceships paradox?, in a central way. This paper examines solutions to this problem in greater detail and from a broader philosophical perspective than Brown et al. offer. It also analyses the well-known analogy between special relativity and classical thermodynamics. This analysis leads to the sceptical conclusion that Bell's solution yields neither new philosophical insights concerning the foundations of relativity nor differential support for a specific view concerning the existence of space-time.
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DOI 10.1080/02698595.2011.623364
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