Einstein and the Wittgenstein's ladder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

The question on whether simultaneity is absolute or relative, contrary to what one might think, did not close with the success of special relativity. Different interpretations of this theory – or different versions of it – still arouse interest in many philosophers of science, some scientists and a vast number of metaphysicians. Usually, those who challenge its more widely accepted version point out the empiricist and verificationist commitments at the heart of this theory. Since Einstein himself acknowledges empiricism, identifying flaws in the underlying epistemology of this theory would be a way of challenging the beliefs shared by classical versions of relativity, such as the relativity of simultaneity. However, is showing the weak empiricist foundations of this theory sufficient for challenging wellestablished results? In this article, I set out to defend that, despite Einstein’s notorious endorsement of empiricism, one is not required to understand the result known as the ‘relativity of simultaneity’ as dependent on any form of verificationism. Therefore, I attempt to provide a defence of relative simultaneity while accounting for its purported advantages, as well as the difficulties identified by its critics. After all, Einstein’s empiricism, especially his verificationism, might simply be a kind of ‘Wittgenstein’s ladder’ - less fundamental than one might think.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpacetime Conference - 2022. Selected peer-reviewed papers presented at the Sixth International Conference on the Nature and Ontology of Spacetime, 12 - 15 September 2022, Albena, Bulgaria
EditorsA. S. Stefanov, G. Dupuis-Mc Donald
PublisherMinkowski Institute Press
Chapter3
Pages53-75
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781989970973
ISBN (Print)9781989970966
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2023
EventSixth International Conference on the Nature and Ontology of Spacetime - Albena, Bulgaria
Duration: 12 Sept 202215 Sept 2022

Conference

ConferenceSixth International Conference on the Nature and Ontology of Spacetime
Country/TerritoryBulgaria
CityAlbena
Period12/09/2215/09/22

Keywords

  • Relativity
  • Simultaneity
  • Verificationism
  • Empiricism
  • Time

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