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The Reign of RelativityPhilosophy in Physics 1915-1925$
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Thomas Ryckman

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195177176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195177177.001.0001

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“Critical or Empiricist Interpretation of the New Physics?”

(p.47) 1921
The Reign of Relativity

Thomas Ryckman

Oxford University Press

Mortiz Schlick’s article of this title was highly influential in convincing several generations of philosophers that GTR outrightly falsified any variety of Kantian epistemology. In fact, the empiricism Schlick countered to transcendental idealism had not yet appeared in his previous writings but was quickly cobbled together from disparate elements: Henri Poincaré’s geometric conventionalism and selective readings of Einstein’s “Geometry and Experience” and earlier texts of Hermann von Helmholtz. The result of Schlick’s improvisation is that the empiricist interpretation of the spacetime metric rests on conventions regarding the behavior of rigid rods and clocks.

Keywords:   Moritz Schlick, general theory of relativity, empiricism, transcendental idealism, Henri Poincaré, geometric conventionalism, Albert Einstein, Geometry and Experience, Hermann von Helmholtz, spacetime metric

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