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Length Matters (I) - The Einstein--Swann Correspondence and the Constructive Approach to the Special Theory of Relativity

Hagar, Amit (2007) Length Matters (I) - The Einstein--Swann Correspondence and the Constructive Approach to the Special Theory of Relativity. In: [2007] &HPS1: Integrated History and Philosophy of Science 1.

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    Abstract

    In this paper and its sequel I discuss a rarely mentioned correspondence between Einstein and W.F.G. Swann on the constructive approach to the special theory of relativity, in which Einstein points out that the attempts to construct a dynamical explanation of relativistic kinematical effects require postulating a minimal length scale in the level of the dynamics. I use this correspondence to shed light on several issues under dispute in current philosophy of spacetime that were highlighted recently in Harvey Brown's monograph "Physical Relativity", namely, Einstein's view on the distinction between principle and constructive theories, and the philosophical consequences of pursuing the constructive approach to the special theory of relativity.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Additional Information: This is the revised version, taking into account referees' input
    Keywords: Principle and constructive theories, Einstein, Relativity Theories, Quantum Theory, Substantivalism, Relationalism
    Subjects: General Issues > Structure of Theories
    General Issues > Explanation
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
    General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
    Conferences and Volumes: [2007] &HPS1: Integrated History and Philosophy of Science 1
    Depositing User: Amit Hagar
    Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2007
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:15
    Item ID: 3560
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/3560

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