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General Relativity Needs No Interpretation

Curiel, Erik (2009) General Relativity Needs No Interpretation. In: [2008]: Visiting Fellows, Center for Philosophy of Science. (2008-2009, Pittsburgh).

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    Abstract

    I argue that, contrary to the recent claims of physicists and philosophers of physics, general relativity requires no interpretation in any substantive sense of the term. I canvass the common reasons given in favor of the alleged need for an interpretation, including the difficulty in coming to grips with the physical significance of diffeomorphism invariance and of singular structure, and the problems faced in the search for a theory of quantum gravity. I find that none of them shows any defect in our comprehension of general relativity as a physical theory. I conclude by comparing general relativity with quantum mechanics, a theory that manifestly does stand in need of an interpretation in an important sense. Although many aspects of the conceptual structure of general relativity remain poorly understood, it suffers no incoherence in its formulation as a physical theory that only an "interpretation'' could resolve.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Additional Information: Forthcoming in "Philosophy of Science", January, 2009
    Keywords: general relativity intepretation quantum gravity diffeomorphic freedom singularities
    Subjects: General Issues > Theory/Observation
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
    Conferences and Volumes: [2008]: Visiting Fellows, Center for Philosophy of Science. (2008-2009, Pittsburgh)
    Depositing User: Erik Curiel
    Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2009
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:17
    Item ID: 4567
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/4567

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