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Thread: The philosophy behind relativity and what is to replace it

  1. #1 The philosophy behind relativity and what is to replace it 
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    Feb 2014
    Underpinning Einstein's relativity are philosophical presumptions and dogmas. These are not normally discussed but need to be in order to find the correct way out of the impasse which Einstein created.

    If we look at anti-relativity websites, e.g. the German one associated with Ekkehard Friebe, we find that the participants have all sorts of different philosophical outlooks, hence, while they might disagree generally with Einstein's relativity dogmas, do not present a common front towards Einstein's teachings here. The end result is even greater confusion since the multiple lines of attack contradict one another.

    Science itself has no agreed philosophy - the usual 'na´ve realism' hardly constituting one since it merely means 'common sense' which is not necessarily good sense.

    The difficulty concerning Einstein's Relativity theories involves the logical paradoxes when the theory (SR or GR) is applied to actual physical situations. These are well known (e.g. time-travellers paradox, twin paradox etc.). Na´ve investigators think that these logical paradoxes can be resolved: they cannot, so to queries here I will set up another thread to answer those who seem to think that the logical paradoxes can be resolved. The basic reason here is that 'resolving' the logical paradox merely shifts the logical paradox into a more complicated logical paradox.

    The underlying issue, the lack of appreciation of which allowed Einstein to develop his logical-paradox-generating theories, is the question of ONTOLOGY i.e. the relation of matter, space and time.

    When in a murder trial a barrister asks: "Where were you at the actual time of the murder?" he is asking a question about the position of certain matter in space and in time. There is no question of 'invariant spacetime intervals' and mutual time dilation etc. What the barrister presumes - and what scientists generally presumed until Einstein came on the scene - is that matter, space and time are ONTOLOGICALLY distinct.

    I.e. matter, space and time are three different types of being. One of them does not influence nor transform into the other(s). Their relationship is prepositional i.e. matter is in space which in turn is in time, that is, the universe consists of matter-in-motion. Only in this way can a logical paradox-free science be created. Galileo was coming towards embodying this view with his relativity principle - all motion is relative. Even in the 19th century, this view continued to be held, it also being accepted that the universe was infinite in space, time and matter-content.

    Unfortunately, Isaac Newton created major difficulties when he concocted the notion of Absolute Space. This concept dogmatizes the universe to be static as a whole, everything moving relative to the absolute space i.e. for Newton all motion is absolute. He could not prove absolute space in a linear sense but claimed to demonstrate it in the "spinning bucket experiment", leading to some acceptance of absolute space.

    Foucault's Pendulum and other observations led to the resolution here when Ernst Mach explained the results of the spinning bucket experiment as NOT "rotation relative to absolute space" but rotation "relative to the cosmos", relative to other matter in the form of the fixed stars. His understanding separated any direct influence of space from matter - hence Einstein did not appreciate this part of Mach's understanding.

    While this solved the question for ponderous matter i.e. that comprising protons, neutrons and electrons which can be weighed on scales, it did not resolve the issue for light.

    Light was thought to be propagated through a medium - the stagnant aether, light passing thru the aether like sound through air or water waves across the sea. Hence the easy identification followed as to Newton's absolute space and the stagnant aether being mutually at rest. Belief in the stagnant aether also led to the Michelson-Morley (MM) Experiment since if one believes in the stagnant aether then the earth's rotation and revolution around the sun would mean that the earth would move relative to the stagnant aether. In this way, it was logically reasoned, Earth's absolute motion could be detected.

    However, all attempts at a positive MM experiment i.e. reproducible fringes from the recombinant beam secondary to the direction of the device, indicating the MM device's absolute motion, were negative.

    Now the obvious Galilean-based answer to this conundrum is that there is no stagnant ether needed to propagate light, no Newtonian absolute space and thus no such thing as absolute motion.

    The experimental result is the (rather obvious) Galilean answer - all motion is relative; the MM demonstrates its truth, so what we have to do now to explain the nature of light is conceive a picture of light more complicated than hitherto in order to explain its multifarious effects, notably the Doppler Effect observed when the observer moves relative to the light source.


    However, theoretical "physicists" had other ideas. The mathematical speculators get into the picture, trying to explain away the null MM result! - mathematical speculators led by the Three Stooges (Fitzgerald, Poincare & Lorentz - not the latter-day counterparts we find here on the website).

    The way they did this at first was to invoke hypothetical length contraction of objects undergoing absolute motion - contracting in such a way as to exactly compensate for the interference fringes which would otherwise be observed without the length contraction (Fitzgerald). This stuff could be justified by invoking Newton's absolute space as well as the "propagation medium" for aether.

    Then came the notion of subjective time - time dilation as hypothesized by Poincare, the notion that an object moving absolutely faster would undergo a slowing of time compared to objects at absolute rest. This claim denied the otherwise obvious Newtonian & Galilean position that "time flows evenly throughout the universe".

    Lorentz combined the two speculations into his model of an electron "moving absolutely through the aether."

    The heart of these claims comprise time dilation & length contraction (TD&LC), fundamental in that they are used to justify absolute motion.

    Einstein however seems to deny absolute motion. His argumentation runs quite differently and comprises the next stage.

    Due to the widespread belief in a stagnant aether (= absolute reference frame = Newton's Absolute Space) the belief in TD&LC caught on, despite no evidence for these phenomena whatsoever. Note that belief in an absolute reference frame (ARF) does not constitute proof for TD&LC! The result was called Lorentzian Relativity.


    Posting still under construction.

    Last edited by TFOLZO; 02-15-2014 at 01:42 PM.
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