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‘. . . But I Still Can’t Get Rid of a Sense of Artificiality’: The Reichenbach-Einstein Debate on the Geometrization of the Electromagnetic Field

Giovanelli, Marco (2016) ‘. . . But I Still Can’t Get Rid of a Sense of Artificiality’: The Reichenbach-Einstein Debate on the Geometrization of the Electromagnetic Field. Studies In History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies In History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 54. pp. 35-51. ISSN 13552198

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Abstract

This paper analyzes correspondence between Reichenbach and Einstein from the spring of 1926, concerning what it means to ‘geometrize’ a physical field. The content of a typewritten note that Reichenbach sent to Einstein on that occasion is reconstructed, showing that it was an early version of §49 of the untranslated Appendix to his Philosophie der Raum-Zeit-Lehre, on which Reichenbach was working at the time. This paper claims that the toy-geometrization of the electromagnetic field that Reichenbach presented in his note should not be regarded as merely a virtuoso mathematical exercise, but as an additional argument supporting the core philosophical message of his 1928 monograph. This paper concludes by suggesting that Reichenbach’s infamous ‘relativization of geometry’ was only a stepping stone on the way to his main concern—the question of the ‘geometrization of gravitation’


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Giovanelli, Marcomarco.giovanelli@uni-tuebingen.de
Keywords: Hans Reichenbach, Albert Einstein, Unified Field Theories, Geometrization
Subjects: General Issues > Conventionalism
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Dr. Marco Giovanelli
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2016 12:40
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2016 12:40
Item ID: 12466
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://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsb.2016.04.001
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1016/j.shpsb.2016.04.001
Subjects: General Issues > Conventionalism
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: May 2016
Page Range: pp. 35-51
Volume: 54
ISSN: 13552198
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12466

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