Origin and Resolution of Theory-Choice Situations in Modern Theory of gravity

Methodology and Science 20 (4):177-197 (1987)
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A methodological model of origin and settlement of theory-choice situations (previously tried on the theories of Einstein and Lorentz in electrodynamics) is applied to modern Theory of Gravity. The process of origin and growth of empirically-equivalent relativistic theories of gravitation is theoretically reproduced. It is argued that all of them are proposed within the two rival research programmes – (1) metric (A. Einstein et al.) and (2) nonmetric (H. Poincare et al.). Each programme aims at elimination of the cross-contradiction between the special theory of relativity and Newton’s theory of gravitation. New arguments in favor of Einstein’s programme are given. Nevertheless, this does not imply the necessity to rule out all the nonmetric theories, since Einstein’s and Poincare’s programmes are alternative only as different tools of the cross-contradiction elimination. In the other respects these programmes are complementary: description, explanation and prediction of gravitational experimental data entails the usage of the languages of nonmetric theories as well as of metric ones. The part of the present investigation elucidating the necessity of nonmetric theories is an implementation of the ideas of A.Z. Petrov, the founder of Kazan University Relativity Department. Late Alexei Zinovievich had frequently punctuated that the notion of Riemann space-time continuum common for all metric theories obfuscates all the gravitational notions considerably and hampers the analogies with other physical theories at hand. Since the ambiguity is a hallmark of all the general relativism notions, approach to their definitions “should be determined not by analogies and contingent facts, but by general considerations linked the physical measurements theory… No matter how far the events lie out of the frames of classical physical explanations, all the experimental data should be described by classical notions” (Petrov, 1965,pp. 59,66). Key words: Kip S. Thorne, A.P. Lightman, Stepin, theory of gravity .
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