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Geometrization vs. Unification. The Reichenbach-Einstein Quarrel about the Fernparallelismus Field Theory

Giovanelli, Marco (2022) Geometrization vs. Unification. The Reichenbach-Einstein Quarrel about the Fernparallelismus Field Theory. Synthese, 213. ISSN 1573-0964

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Abstract

This study reconstructs the 1928-1929 correspondence between Reichenbach and Einstein about the latter's latest distant parallelism-unified field theory, which attracted considerable public attention at the end of the 1920s. Reichenbach, who had recently become a Professor in Berlin, had the opportunity to discuss the theory with Einstein and therefore sent him a manuscript with some comments for feedback. The document has been preserved among Einstein's papers. However, the subsequent correspondence took an unpleasant turn after Reichenbach published a popular article on distant parallelism in : newspaper. Einstein directly wrote to the Editorial Board complaining about Reichenbach's unfair use of off-the-record information. While Reichenbach's reply demonstrates a sense of personal betrayal at Einstein's behavior, his published writings of that period point to a sense of intellectual betrayal of their shared philosophical ideals. In his attempts to unify both electricity and gravitation, Einstein had abandoned the physical heuristic that guided him to the relativity theory, to embrace a more speculative, mathematical heuristic that he and Reichenbach had both previously condemned. A decade-long personal and intellectual friendship grew fainter and then never recovered. In addition to Giovanelli, 2016a, this study, relying on archival material, aims to revisit the Reichenbach-Einstein relationship in the late 1920s in light of Reichenbach's neglected contributions to the epistemology of the unified field theory program. Thus, this study hopes to provide a richer account of Reichenbach's philosophy of space and time.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Giovanelli, Marcomarco.giovanelli@unito.it0000-0003-1342-6476
Keywords: Hans Reichenbach; Albert Einstein; Relativity Theory; Unified Field Theories; Teleparallelism; Unification; Geometrization
Subjects: General Issues > Conventionalism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Dr. Marco Giovanelli
Date Deposited: 10 May 2022 04:12
Last Modified: 10 May 2022 04:12
Item ID: 20577
Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s112...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-022-03531-2
Subjects: General Issues > Conventionalism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 9 May 2022
Volume: 213
ISSN: 1573-0964
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20577

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