PhilSci Archive

Kant, Schlick and Friedman on Space, Time and Gravity in Light of Three Lessons from Particle Physics

Pitts, J. Brian (2017) Kant, Schlick and Friedman on Space, Time and Gravity in Light of Three Lessons from Particle Physics. Erkenntnis.

[img]
Preview
Text
KantParticle.pdf

Download (204kB) | Preview

Abstract

Kantian philosophy of space, time and gravity is significantly affected in three ways by particle physics. First, particle physics deflects Schlick's General Relativity-based critique of synthetic a priori knowledge. Schlick argued that since geometry was not synthetic a priori, nothing was---a key step toward logical empiricism. Particle physics suggests a Kant-friendlier theory of space-time and gravity presumably approximating General Relativity arbitrarily well, massive spin-2 gravity, while retaining a flat space-time geometry that is _indirectly_ observable at large distances. The theory's roots include Seeliger and Neumann in the 1890s and Einstein in 1917 as well as 1920s-30s physics. Such theories have seen renewed scientific attention since 2000 and especially since 2010 due to breakthroughs addressing early 1970s technical difficulties.

Second, particle physics casts additional doubt on Friedman's constitutive a priori role for the principle of equivalence. Massive spin-2 gravity presumably should have nearly the same empirical content as General Relativity while differing radically on foundational issues. Empirical content even in General Relativity resides in partial differential equations, not in an additional principle identifying gravity and inertia.

Third, Kant's apparent claim that Newton's results could be known a priori is undermined by an alternate gravitational equation. The modified theory has a smaller (Galilean) symmetry group than does Newton's. What Kant wanted from Newton's gravity is impossible due its large symmetry group, but is closer to achievable given the alternative theory.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Pitts, J. Brianjbp25@cam.ac.uk0000-0002-7299-5137
Keywords: Kant synthetic a priori knowledge Moritz Schlick Rudolf Carnap Hans Reichenbach particle physics massive graviton Carl Neumann Hugo von Seeliger cosmological constant General Relativity logical empiricism symmetries conventionalism
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Conventionalism
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
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 > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr. Dr. J. Brian Pitts
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 15:25
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2017 15:25
Item ID: 12832
Journal or Publication Title: Erkenntnis
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Conventionalism
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
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 > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: January 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12832

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item