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Erich Kretschmann as a Proto-Logical-Empiricist: Adventures and Misadventures of the Point-Coincidence Argument

Giovanelli, Marco (2012) Erich Kretschmann as a Proto-Logical-Empiricist: Adventures and Misadventures of the Point-Coincidence Argument. Studies In History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies In History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. ISSN 13552198

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Abstract

The present paper attempts to show that a 1915 article by Erich Kretschmann must be credited not only for being the source of Einstein’s point-coincidence remark, but also for having anticipated the main lines of the logical-empiricist interpretation of general relativity. Whereas Kretschmann was inspired by the work of Mach and Poincaré, Einstein inserted Kretschmann’s point-coincidence parlance into the context of Ricci and Levi-Civita’s absolute differential calculus. Kretschmann himself realized this and turned the point-coincidence argument against Einstein in his second and more famous 1918 paper. While Einstein had taken nothing from Kretschmann but the expression “point-coincidences”, the logical empiricists, however, instinctively dragged along with it the entire apparatus of Kretschmann’s conventionalism. Disappointingly, in their interpretation of general relativity, the logical empiricists unwittingly replicated some epistemological remarks Kretschmann had written before General Relativity even existed.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Giovanelli, Marcomarco.giovanelli@uni-tuebingen.de
Keywords: Keywords: Erich Kretschmann, Point Coincidence Argument, Moritz Schlick, General Relativity, Logical Empiricism, Conventionalism
Subjects: General Issues > Conventionalism
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Dr. Marco Giovanelli
Date Deposited: 29 Dec 2013 17:32
Last Modified: 29 Dec 2013 17:32
Item ID: 10158
Journal or Publication Title: Studies In History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies In History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Publisher: Elsevier
Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S...
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1016/j.shpsb.2012.11.004
Subjects: General Issues > Conventionalism
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 2012
ISSN: 13552198
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/10158

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