On the persistence of the ether as absolute space

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
We analyse how the concept of the ether, playing the role of absolute space, is still present in physics. When the problem is considered in the context of classical mechanics, we show that vestiges of absolute space can be found in the standard presentation of inertial systems. We offer an alternative --fully relational-- definition of inertial systems which not only eliminates the problem but it further shows that the equivalence principle is just a particular consequence of the No Arbitrariness Principle. In terms of Special Relativity, the non-existence of relative velocities implies a constructive contradiction (their existence is assumed in the construction). The problem is inherited from Lorentz' use of the ether, developed in his interpretation of Maxwell's electrodynamics. In summary, the velocities in the Lorentz transformations must be considered velocities relative to the ether (absolute space) if the theory is not to fall apart for being inconsistent. We discuss the relevance of the phenomenological map, and how previous works have failed to acknowledge that the consistency problem is not in the exposed part of the theory but in the supporting phenomenological map which, rather than being constructed anew, it transports concepts of classical mechanics by habit, without revising their validity in the context of Special Relativity.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2020-02-12
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
23 ( #44,946 of 46,389 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
23 ( #31,821 of 46,389 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.