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Historical and Philosophical Insights about General Relativity and Space-time from Particle Physics

Pitts, J. Brian (2016) Historical and Philosophical Insights about General Relativity and Space-time from Particle Physics. New Directions in Logic and the Philosophy of Science: SILFS volume 3. pp. 291-301.

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Abstract

Historians recently rehabilitated Einstein’s “physical strategy” for General Relativity (GR). Independently, particle physicists similarly rederived Einstein’s equations for a massless spin 2 field. But why not a light massive spin 2, like Neumann and Seeliger did to Newton? Massive gravities are bimetric, supporting conventionalism over geometric empiricism. Nonuniqueness lets field equations explain geometry but not vice versa. Massive gravity would have blocked Schlick’s critique of Kant’s synthetic a priori. Finally in 1970 massive spin 2 gravity seemed unstable or empirically falsified. GR was vindicated, but later and on better grounds. However, recently dark energy and theoretical progress have made massive spin 2 gravity potentially viable again.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Pitts, J. Brianjbp25@cam.ac.uk0000-0002-7299-5137
Keywords: space-time, particle physics, massive gravity, conventionalism, conventionality, philosophy of geometry, unconceived alternatives, neo-Kantianism, Vienna Circle, Henri Poincare, Moritz Schlick, Hugo von Seeliger, Carl Neumann
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Astrophysics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Conventionalism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Rhetoric of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Dr. Dr. J. Brian Pitts
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2019 19:41
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2019 19:41
Item ID: 16421
Journal or Publication Title: New Directions in Logic and the Philosophy of Science: SILFS volume 3
Publisher: College Publications
Official URL: http://www.collegepublications.co.uk/downloads/sil...
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Astrophysics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Conventionalism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Rhetoric of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2016
Page Range: pp. 291-301
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16421

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