Chapter

Einstein <i>Agonists</i>

Thomas Ryckman

in The Reign of Relativity

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780195177176
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835324 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195177177.003.0004

Series: Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Science

 Einstein Agonists

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Hermann Weyl and Hans Reichenbach stood on opposite sides in a debate that ostensibly turned on whether rigid rods and ideal clocks do or should play an epistemologically fundamental role in GTR. Weyl’s unification of gravitation and electromagnetism on the basis of an epistemological principle of “relativity of magnitude” is the first explicit example of a gauge theory. The Einstein-Pauli “prehistory” objection is considered. It is shown how Reichenbach’s “constructive axiomatization” of GTR based on rigid rods and clocks is expressly targeted on Weyl’s theory. Einstein’s epistemological objections to Weyl are belied by his own practice in pursuit of a unified field theory.

Keywords: Hermann Weyl; Hans Reichenbach; rigid rods; ideal clocks; gravitation; electromagnetism; principle of relativity of magnitude; gauge theory; Einstein-Pauli prehistory objection; Albert Einstein

Chapter.  16287 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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