The Constitution of Weyl’s Pure Infinitesimal World Geometry

Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 12 (1):189–208 (2022)
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Abstract

Hermann Weyl was one of the most important figures involved in the early elaboration of the general theory of relativity and its fundamentally geometrical spacetime picture of the world. Weyl’s development of “pure infinitesimal geometry” out of relativity theory was the basis of his remarkable attempt at unifying gravitation and electromagnetism. Many interpreters have focused primarily on Weyl’s philosophical influences, especially the influence of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology, as the motivation for these efforts. In this article, I argue both that these efforts are most naturally understood as an outgrowth of the distinctive mathematical-physical tradition in Göttingen and also that phenomenology has little to no constructive role to play in them.

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C. D. McCoy
Yonsei University

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