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Special Relativity-A Special Case of Infinite Regress

Special Relativity-A Special Case of Infinite Regress

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Published by ChrisTselentis

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Published by: ChrisTselentis on Oct 28, 2010
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Special Relativity- a
Special case of Infinite Regress
(Painting: Salvador Dali)
 About the absolute character of physical theories
Physics is considered a science of experiment. Nevertheless, the greater discoveries in physics were made by theoretical assumptions. The atomic theory of Democritus, the law of gravity of Newton, Maxwell¶s equations of electromagnetism,Einstein¶s theory of special and general relativity, are some examples. Of course, a theorymust be tested experimentally. If the results of an experiment don¶t match with thetheory, then the theory is discarded. But if the initial theory is quite strong then it can prevail over any experimental verification or even any logical proof.
 A µshort¶ history of light 
Since the earliest times there was a division between those who believed that thespeed of light was finite and those who believed that the speed of light was infinite. Fromour point of view it may seem that a discussion about the speed of light is a closed case
 but it is very interesting to see that through history the opposite could hold true as well.For example, based on logical assumptions, Heron of Alexandria argued that the speed of light must be infinite because distant objects such as stars appear immediately upon
opening the eyes
.Empedocles was perhaps the first to claim that light has a finite speed. Hemaintained that light was something in motion, and therefore must take some time totravel. Aristotle argued, on the contrary, that
µlight is due to the presence of something,but it is not a movement¶ 
.In the early 17th century, Johannes Kepler believed that the speed of light wasinfinite, since empty space presents no obstacle to it. René Descartes argued that if thespeed of light were finite, the Sun, Earth, and Moon would be noticeably out of alignmentduring a lunar eclipse.
 Descartes speculated that if the speed of light were found to be finite, his whole system of philosophy might be demolished.
 Later on, during the same and the next centuries, thanks to scientists like OleRømer and Christiaan Huygens, and to studies about the motion of planetary objects andeclipses, experimental data started to accumulate indicating a finite speed for the propagation of light. In 1729, James Bradley discovered
the aberration of light 
. Fromthis effect he determined that it would take light 8 minutes and 12 seconds to travel fromthe Sun to the Earth.Finite speed of light
Spacetime is absoluteInfinite speed of light
Spacetime is relative
heory of Relativity: µAn absolute reference to the relative ones.¶ 
My purpose here is not to tell the µhistory of light.¶ I just wanted to point out in a brief manner how fast (or slow) beliefs may change relative to new discoveries or 
 perhaps to new µinspirations.¶ Don¶t forget my initial argument about the µdivine¶character that most of our discoveries have. The speed of light from infinite would become measurable. But µmeasurable¶ means demonstrable so relative but not necessarilyfinite. At this turning point of the history of light, its speed would depend on manyfactors, the more important of all being an
space and time. There was nothing toguaranty that the speed of light was a
. Still, there¶s
to guaranty this at present time.
 It has never been proven either that the speed of light is constant or that it is the fastest one in the universe.
This is exactly what I call
reductio ad infinitum
(reduction to infinity). Simply, it has never been proven the
and it may never be.
he 2 axioms of Einstein
In Einstein¶s own definitions:1.
The Principle of Relativity: ³The laws by which the states of physical systemsundergo change are not affected, whether these changes of state be referred to the one or the other of two systems in uniform translatory motion relative to each other.´2.
The Principle of Invariant Light Speed ± ³... light is always propagated in emptyspace with a definite velocity [speed]
which is independent of the state of motion of theemitting body.´
(µOntheElectrodynamicsofMovingBodies,¶Albert Einstein, translation in English by GeorgeBarkerJefferyand Wilfrid Perrett, 1923,http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/specrel/www/)
In other words:1) µIf two or more observers are inertial (in uniform motion), then uniformity is whatthey will observe.¶ - Tautology.Q: µAre there
observers in uniform motion?¶2) µThe speed of light is c a constant.¶ - Circular argument.Q: µ
the speed of light is constant?These are called
i.e. µtruths¶ within a system of reasoning, that despite thefact that all propositions within the logical system must be proved or at least be provable,these truths can¶t be proved. I guess Einstein knew all these and it took him about 10

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