Drawing the line between kinematics and dynamics in special relativity

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
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2008.06.004
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,719
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Laws and Meta-Laws of Nature: Conservation Laws and Symmetries.Marc Lange - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (3):457-481.
Presentism and Relativity. [REVIEW]Yuri Balashov & Michel Janssen - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):327-346.
Two Dogmas About Quantum Mechanics.Jeffrey Bub & Itamar Pitowsky - 2010 - In Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory & Reality. Oxford University Press.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Physical Relativity From a Functionalist Perspective.Knox Eleanor - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
Another Look at Empirical Equivalence and Underdetermination of Theory Choice.Pablo Acuña & Dennis Dieks - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2):153-180.
Mass-Energy-Momentum: Only There Because of Spacetime?Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):453-488.

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Bell's Spaceships Problem and the Foundations of Special Relativity.Francisco Fernflores - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (4):351-370.
Principle or Constructive Relativity.Mathias Frisch - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 42 (3):176-183.
The “Reality” of the Lorentz Contraction.Dennis Dieks - 1984 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 15 (2):330-342.
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
125 ( #40,374 of 2,197,306 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #35,052 of 2,197,306 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature