Against the realistic interpretation of the Theory of Relativity

Harmonia Philosophica (2019)
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The Theory of Relativity has been portrayed as a theory that redefined the way we look at the cosmos, enabling us to unlock the reality we live in. Its proponents are constantly reminding us of how Einstein managed to reveal the true nature of the universe with his groundbreaking theory, which has been proved multiple times until now. Yet, philosophy of science teaches us that no theory has any privileged connection with what we call reality per se. The role of science is to formulate models of the cosmos we see and not to try to interpret or reveal reality. This paper tries to show how this holds true even for the famous relativity theory, by showing specific objections to the connection of the theory with the Holy Grail of philosophers. By analyzing various subjects related to the theory, from the twins’ paradox to the GPS satellites, this paper illustrates that relativity is much less connected to reality than what we would like to think. At the end, what Einstein’s theory provides is nothing more than a way to formalize the interactions of the world but without being able to make any claims whatsoever regarding the ‘reality’ of its conclusions.

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Spyridon Kakos
National Technical University of Athens (PhD)


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