(Re)interpreting E=mc²

Foundations of Physics 52 (1):1-19 (2022)
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Abstract

We propose a new interpretation of the equation E=mc² in special relativity by generalizing ideas of ontological emergence to fundamental physics. This allows us to propose that mass, as a property, can be considered to emerge from energy, using a well-known definition of weak ontological emergence. Einstein’s famous equation gains in this way a clearer philosophical interpretation, one that avoids the problems of previous attempts, and is fully consistent with the kinematic properties of special relativity, while yielding fresh insights concerning the nature of mass.

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2021-12-24

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References found in this work

Mental causation.Stephen Yablo - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):245-280.
Making sense of emergence.Jaegwon Kim - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):3-36.
Metaphysical emergence: Weak and Strong.Jessica Wilson - 2013 - In Stephen Mumford & Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 251-306.

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