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  1.  8
    Figures of Light in the Early History of Relativity.Scott A. Walter - forthcoming - In David Rowe (ed.), Einstein Studies. Birkhäuser.
    Albert Einstein's bold assertion of the form-invariance of the equation of a spherical light wave with respect to inertial frames of reference became, in the space of six years, the preferred foundation of his theory of relativity. Early on, however, Einstein's universal light-sphere invariance was challenged on epistemological grounds by Henri Poincaré, who promoted an alternative demonstration of the foundations of relativity theory based on the notion of a light-ellipsoid. Drawing in part on archival sources, this paper shows how an (...)
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    Henri Poincaré et l’espace-temps conventionnel.Scott A. Walter - 2008 - Cahiers de Philosophie de L’Université de Caen 45:87.
    According to the conventionalist doctrine of space elaborated by the French philosopher-scientist Henri Poincaré in the 1890s, the geometry of physical space is a matter of definition, not of fact. Poincaré’s Hertz-inspired view of the role of hypothesis in science guided his interpretation of the theory of relativity (1905), which he found to be in violation of the axiom of free mobility of invariable solids. In a quixotic effort to save the Euclidean geometry that relied on this axiom, Poincaré extended (...)
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    Poincaré on Clocks in Motion.Scott A. Walter - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 47 (1):131-141.
    Recently-discovered manuscripts throw new light on Poincaré’s discovery of the Lorentz group, and his ether-based interpretation of the Lorentz transformation. At first, Poincaré postulated longitudinal contraction of bodies in motion with respect to the ether, and ignored time deformation. In April, 1909, he acknowledged temporal deformation due to translation, obtaining thereby a theory of relativity more compatible with those of Einstein and Minkowski.
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  4. Breaking in the Four-Vectors: The Four-Dimensional Movement in Gravitation.Scott A. Walter - 2007 - In Jürgen Renn & Matthias Schemmel (eds.), The Genesis of General Relativity, Volume 3. Springer. pp. 193-252.
    The law of gravitational attraction is a window on three formal approaches to laws of nature based on Lorentz-invariance: Poincaré’s four-dimensional vector space (1906), Minkowski’s matrix calculus and spacetime geometry (1908), and Sommerfeld’s 4-vector algebra (1910). In virtue of a common appeal to 4-vectors for the characterization of gravitational attraction, these three contributions track the emergence and early development of four-dimensional physics.
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  5. Hypothesis and Convention in Poincaré's Defense of Galilei Space-Time.Scott A. Walter - 2009 - In Michael Heidelberger & Gregor Schiemann (eds.), The Significance of the Hypothetical in the Natural Sciences. De Gruyter. pp. 193-219.
    According to the conventionalist doctrine of space elaborated by the French philosopher-scientist Henri Poincaré in the 1890s, the geometry of physical space is a matter of definition, not of fact. Poincaré’s Hertz-inspired view of the role of hypothesis in science guided his interpretation of the theory of relativity (1905), which he found to be in violation of the axiom of free mobility of invariable solids. In a quixotic effort to save the Euclidean geometry that relied on this axiom, Poincaré extended (...)
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  6. La vérité en géométrie: sur le rejet mathématique de la doctrine conventionnaliste.Scott A. Walter - 1997 - Philosophia Scientiae 2 (3):103-135.
    The reception of Poincaré’s conventionalist doctrine of space by mathematicians is studied for the period 1891–1911. The opposing view of Riemann and Helmholtz, according to which the geometry of space is an empirical question, is shown to have swayed several geometers. This preference is considered in the context of changing views of the nature of space in theoretical physics, and with respect to structural and social changes within mathematics. Included in the latter evolution is the emergence of non-Euclidean geometry as (...)
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