Drawing the line between kinematics and dynamics in special relativity

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (1):26-52 (2009)
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Abstract

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 the early reception of special relativity in the physics literature: the Fresnel drag effect in the Fizeau experiment, the velocity dependence of electron mass in beta-ray deflection experiments by Kaufmann and others, and the delicately balanced torques on a moving charged capacitor in the Trouton-Noble experiment. I offer historical sketches of how Lorentz's dynamical explanations of these phenomena came to be replaced by their now standard kinematical explanations. I then take up the philosophical challenge posed by the work of Harvey Brown and Oliver Pooley and clarify how those kinematical explanations work

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Citations of this work

Physical Relativity From a Functionalist Perspective.Eleanor Knox - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 67:118-124.
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.
Effective Spacetime Geometry.Eleanor Knox - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):346-356.

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References found in this work

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):421-423.
Autobiographical Notes.Max Black, Albert Einstein & Paul Arthur Schilpp - 1949 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 15 (2):157.
The Principle of Relativity.Albert Einstein - 1923 - Dover Publications.

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