Journal Article

Flavour-Oscillation Clocks and the Geometricity of General Relativity

Eleanor Knox

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 61, issue 2, pages 433-452
Published in print June 2010 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axp045
Flavour-Oscillation Clocks and the Geometricity of General Relativity

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I look at the ‘flavour-oscillation clocks’ proposed by D. V. Ahluwalia and two of his arguments suggesting that such clocks might behave in a way that threatens the geometricity of general relativity (GR). The first argument states that the behaviour of these clocks in the vicinity of a rotating gravitational source implies a non-geometrical element of gravity. I argue that the phenomenon is best seen as an instance of violation of the ‘clock hypothesis’ and therefore does not threaten the geometrical nature of gravitation. Ahluwalia’s second argument, for the ‘incompleteness’ of general relativity, involves the idea that flavour-oscillation clocks can detect constant gravitational potentials. I argue that the purported ‘incompleteness-establishing’ result is in fact one that applies to all clocks. It is entirely derivable from general relativity, does not result in the observability of the potential, and is not at odds with any of general relativity’s foundations.

Introduction

Flavour-Oscillation Clocks and the Clock Hypothesis 2.1

Two types of flavour-oscillation clock

2.2

Quantum mechanics and gravity

2.3

A new non-geometrical element in gravity?

2.4

Cancellation and simulation: An alternative account of geometricity

2.5

The clock hypothesis

Flavour-Oscillation Clocks in a Constant Potential 3.1

The problem according to Ahluwalia

3.2

Unpicking the argument

Conclusion

Journal Article.  7758 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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