Two miracles of general relativity

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:14-25 (2018)
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Abstract

We approach the physics of \emph{minimal coupling} in general relativity, demonstrating that in certain circumstances this leads to violations of the \emph{strong equivalence principle}, which states that, in general relativity, the dynamical laws of special relativity can be recovered at a point. We then assess the consequences of this result for the \emph{dynamical perspective on relativity}, finding that potential difficulties presented by such apparent violations of the strong equivalence principle can be overcome. Next, we draw upon our discussion of the dynamical perspective in order to make explicit two `miracles' in the foundations of relativity theory. We close by arguing that the above results afford us insights into the nature of special relativity, and its relation to general relativity.

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Author Profiles

Dennis Lehmkuhl
Universität Bonn
James Read
Oxford University
Harvey R. Brown
Oxford University

Citations of this work

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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.
The dynamical approach to spin-2 gravity.Kian Salimkhani - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:29-45.

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References found in this work

Newtonian Spacetime Structure in Light of the Equivalence Principle.Eleanor Knox - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):863-880.
Drawing the line between kinematics and dynamics in special relativity.Michel Janssen - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (1):26-52.

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