On the Origins of the Special Theory of Relativity
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CitationHolton, Gerald. 1960. On the Origins of the Special Theory of Relativity. American Journal of Physics 28, 627. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.1935922
AbstractEinstein's early work on relativity theory is found to be related to his other work at that time (e.g., in subject matter and style). In addition to this element of internal continuity one finds also—as a key to a new evaluation of the significance of Einstein's contribution—an external continuity with the classic, Newtonian tradition governing restrictions on permissible hypotheses. On the other hand, Einstein's work is shown to have been, in important respects, more independent of other contemporary work in this field than has recently been proposed.
These continuities and discontinuities are set forth to make the point that philosophical studies of scientific work should proceed on historically valid ground. Some guiding principles are indicated for dealing with conflicting source materials for such studies.
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