Axiomatization of the Theory of Relativity [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 23 (4):748-748 (1970)

Abstract
Reichenbach wrote this book just after taking the first course Einstein ever taught on the theory of relativity. His important and influential work The Philosophy of Space and Time was written several years later and relied in part on the axiomatization of the special and general theories of relativity already worked out in this book. For special relativity Reichenbach divides his axioms into two sets, the light axioms which relate light signals to the topology and metric of time and space, and the matter axioms which do the same for rigid rods and clocks. Thus the axioms focus on the conventions uniting theory and observation and give more insight into the physical foundations of the theory than do most axiomatizations. Reichenbach's approach has been criticized by Weyl and others, but at least some of the criticism seems to rest on a misunderstanding of what Reichenbach was attempting to do. Now that this early work has been translated into English, there is hope that it will be more widely read. There is no doubt that students of the theory or of recent philosophical discussion of space and time will profit from a careful reading of this book.--R. H. K.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph197023485
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