Synthese 190 (17):3819-3863 (2013)

Authors
Marco Giovanelli
Università di Torino
Abstract
By inserting the dialogue between Einstein, Schlick and Reichenbach into a wider network of debates about the epistemology of geometry, this paper shows that not only did Einstein and Logical Empiricists come to disagree about the role, principled or provisional, played by rods and clocks in General Relativity, but also that in their lifelong interchange, they never clearly identified the problem they were discussing. Einstein’s reflections on geometry can be understood only in the context of his ”measuring rod objection” against Weyl. On the contrary, Logical Empiricists, though carefully analyzing the Einstein–Weyl debate, tried to interpret Einstein’s epistemology of geometry as a continuation of the Helmholtz–Poincaré debate by other means. The origin of the misunderstanding, it is argued, should be found in the failed appreciation of the difference between a “Helmholtzian” and a “Riemannian” tradition. The epistemological problems raised by General Relativity are extraneous to the first tradition and can only be understood in the context of the latter, the philosophical significance of which, however, still needs to be fully explored
Keywords Logical empiricism  Moritz Schlick  Hans Reichenbach   Albert Einstein  Hermann Weyl  Epistemology of geometry
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0229-1
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References found in this work BETA

The Rise of Scientific Philosophy.Hans Reichenbach - 1951 - Berkeley: University of California Press.
Autobiographical Notes.Max Black, Albert Einstein & Paul Arthur Schilpp - 1949 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 15 (2):157.
Space-Time-Matter.Hermann Weyl - 1922 - E.P. Dutton and Company.

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Citations of this work BETA

Conventionalism About Time Direction.Matt Farr - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-21.
‘But One Must Not Legalize the Mentioned Sin’: Phenomenological Vs. Dynamical Treatments of Rods and Clocks in Einstein׳s Thought.Marco Giovanelli - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 48 (1):20-44.
The Dynamical Approach as Practical Geometry.Syman Stevens - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1152-1162.

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