“World Building”

Thomas Ryckman

in The Reign of Relativity

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780195177176
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835324 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Science

 “World Building”

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It is shown how the epistemological thesis that physics can provide knowledge only of the structure of the physical world emerged in Arthur Eddington’s semi-popular, philosophical and technical writings on the general theory of relativity. The implicitly Kantian character of Eddington’s conception of “world building” in a geometrized physics is developed through examination of Eddington’s two principal works on general relativity. Eddington’s structuralism is contrasted with that associated with Bertrand Russell, and his conception of the mind’s role in “world building” is linked to earlier views of the mathematician William Kingdom Clifford.

Keywords: epistemology; structure; physical world; Arthur Eddington; geometrized physics; general theory of relativity; structuralism; Bertrand Russell; structural realism; William Kingdom Clifford

Chapter.  21774 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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