PhilSci Archive

Literal vs. careful interpretations of scientific theories: the vacuum approach to the problem of motion in general relativity

Lehmkuhl, Dennis (2016) Literal vs. careful interpretations of scientific theories: the vacuum approach to the problem of motion in general relativity. In: UNSPECIFIED.

[img]
Preview
Text
Lehmkuhl_Geodesic_Theorems_6_philsci_archive.pdf

Download (242kB) | Preview

Abstract

The problem of motion in general relativity is about how exactly the gravitational field equations, the Einstein equations, are related to the equations of motion of material bodies subject to gravitational fields. This paper compares two approaches to derive the geodesic motion of (test) matter from the field equations: `the T approach' and `the vacuum approach'. The latter approach has been dismissed by philosophers of physics because it apparently represents material bodies by singularities. I shall argue that a careful interpretation of the approach shows that it does not depend on introducing singularities at all, and that it holds at least as much promise as the T approach. I conclude with some general lessons about careful vs. literal interpretations of scientific theories.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Lehmkuhl, Dennislehmkuhl@caltech.edu
Keywords: General Relativity, Problem of Motion, Geodesic Theorem, Geodesic Equation, Einstein field equations
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Dr Dennis Lehmkuhl
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2016 14:58
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2016 14:58
Item ID: 12461
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: 26 September 2016
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12461

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item