Special relativity without one-way velocity assumptions: Part I

Philosophy of Science 37 (1):81-99 (1970)
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The Reichenbach-Grunbaum thesis of the conventionality of simultaneity is clarified and defended by developing the consequences of the Special Theory when assumptions are not made concerning the one-way speed of light. It is first shown that the conventionality of simultaneity leads immediately to the conventionality of all relative speeds. From this result, the general-length-contraction and time-dilation relations are then derived. Next, the place of time-dilation and length-contraction effects within the Special Theory is examined in the light of the conventionality thesis. The slow-transport method of synchrony is then examined in the light of these results and is shown not to provide an adequate method of uniquely determining the one-way speed of light. Finally, the general ε -Lorentz transformations for events along the x-axis are derived from three principles: the round-trip light principle, the principle of equal passage times, and the linearity principle. These principles are shown to be independent of one-way velocity assumptions, and thus may form the basis of a Special Theory of Relativity without distant simultaneity assumptions



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Citations of this work

The time-lag argument and simultaneity.Zhiwei Gu - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11231-11248.
Conventionality of simultaneity.Allen Janis - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
On the role of special relativity in general relativity.Harvey R. Brown - 1997 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 11 (1):67 – 81.
Simultaneity, convention, and gauge freedom.Robert Rynasiewicz - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (2):90-94.

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References found in this work

Conventionality in distant simulataneity.Brian Ellis & Peter Bowman - 1967 - Philosophy of Science 34 (2):116-136.
The conventionality of simultaneity.Wesley C. Salmon - 1969 - Philosophy of Science 36 (1):44-63.

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