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Lorentz Contraction vs. Einstein Contraction. Reichenbach and the Philosophical Reception of Miller’s Ether-Drift Experiments

Giovanelli, Marco (2018) Lorentz Contraction vs. Einstein Contraction. Reichenbach and the Philosophical Reception of Miller’s Ether-Drift Experiments. Proceeding of the Fourth International Conference on the Nature and Ontology of Spacetime. pp. 125-155.

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Abstract

In 1925 Reichenbach, by reacting to the positive result of Miller’s ether-drift experiments, introduced a distinction between two types of rod contraction in special relativity: a kinematical ‘Einstein contraction,’ which depends on the definition of simultaneity, and a dynamical ‘Lorentz contraction.’ He argued that although both contractions happen to amount to the same Lorentz factor, they are conceptually different. In Reichenbach’s view, only the ‘Lorentz contraction’ is at stake in the Michelson-Morley experiment. The arm of Michelson’s interferometer is shorter than it would have been in classical mechanics in both Einstein and Lorentz’s theories. In both theories, the Lorentz contraction requires an atomistic explanation based on a yet-unknown theory of matter. This paper concludes that Reichenbach’s interpretation of special relativity shares features of the current neo-Lorentzian interpretations.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Giovanelli, Marcomarco.giovanelli@uni-tuebingen.de
Keywords: Hans Reichenbach - Lorentz Contraction - Special Relativity - Neo-Lorentzian Interpretation
Subjects: General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: PD Dr. Marco Giovanelli
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2020 17:04
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2020 17:04
Item ID: 16832
Journal or Publication Title: Proceeding of the Fourth International Conference on the Nature and Ontology of Spacetime
Publisher: Minkowski lnstitute Press
DOI or Unique Handle: 978-1-927763-47-6
Subjects: General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 2018
Page Range: pp. 125-155
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16832

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