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Explanation, geometry, and conspiracy in relativity theory

Read, James (2018) Explanation, geometry, and conspiracy in relativity theory. [Preprint]


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I discuss the debate between dynamical versus geometrical approaches to spacetime theories, in the context of both special and general relativity, arguing that (a) the debate takes a substantially different form in the two cases; (b) different versions of the geometrical approach—only some of which are viable—should be distinguished; (c) in general relativity, there is no difference between the most viable version of the geometrical approach and the dynamical approach. In addition, I demonstrate that what have previously been dubbed two ‘miracles’ of general relativity admit of no resolution from within general relativity, on either the dynamical or ‘qualified’ geometrical approaches, modulo some possible hints that the second ‘miracle’ may be resolved by appeal to recent results regarding the ‘geodesic principle’ in GR.

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Item Type: Preprint
Additional Information: Submitted to C. Beisbart, T. Sauer and C. Wüthrich (eds.), "Thinking About Space and Time: 100 Years of Applying and Interpreting General Relativity", Einstein Studies series, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2019.
Keywords: Relativity, spacetime geometry, dynamical approach
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Dr. James Read
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2018 01:47
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2018 01:47
Item ID: 15253
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: 3 November 2018

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