The Equivalence Principle(s)

In Eleanor Knox & Alistair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics (2021)
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Abstract

I discuss the relationship between different versions of the equivalence principle in general relativity, among them Einstein's equivalence principle, the weak equivalence principle, and the strong equivalence principle. I show that Einstein's version of the equivalence principle is intimately linked to his idea that in GR gravity and inertia are unified to a single field, quite like the electric and magnetic field had been unified in special relativistic electrodynamics. At the same time, what is now often called the strong equivalence principle, related to the local validity of special relativity, can also be found in Einstein's writings, albeit by a different name and clearly separated from what he calls the equivalence principle. I discuss both the development of Einstein's thoughts on the different versions of the equivalence principle, their relationship to the relativity principle, as well as later reflections and variants proposed.

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Dennis Lehmkuhl
Universität Bonn

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References found in this work

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.
Rethinking Newton’s Principia.Simon Saunders - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (1):22-48.

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