HPS 0410 Einstein for Everyone Spring 2007

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Assignment 7: Philosophical Significance of the Special Theory of Relativity

For submission Tuesday, February 20, Wednesday February 21

Consider the candidate morals in the the lecture, The Philosophical Significance of the Special Theory of Relativity.

1. Which, if any, do you find most convincing? If you answer "none of the above," Propose an alternative.

2. In your own words, give a clear a statement of the moral.

3. State clearly the argument in favor of the moral.

For discussion in the recitation

A. At its simplest, Einstein's special theory of relativity is just one of many physical theories. Yet there is a widespread belief that Einstein's achievement with the special theory of relativity has a significance that goes beyond the simple physical content of the theory. Why do you think this belief arose? Is it that his theory brought down the apparently unassailable empire of classical physics? Or is it that his theory deals with such fundamental notions as space, time and energy in a strikingly novel way? Or is it something else again?