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There Is No Conspiracy of Inertia

There Is No Conspiracy of Inertia I examine two claims that arise in Brown’s ([2005]) account of inertial motion. Brown claims there is something objectionable about the way in which the motions of free particles in Newtonian theory and special relativity are coordinated. Brown also claims that since a geodesic principle can be derived in Einsteinian gravitation, the objectionable feature is explained away. I argue that there is nothing objectionable about inertia and that while the theorems that motivate Brown’s second claim can be said to figure in a deductive–nomological explanation, their main contribution lies in their explication rather than their explanation of inertial motion.1 Introduction2 The Alleged Conspiracy3 The Conspirators Unmasked  3.1 The action–reaction principle  3.2 Global coordinate systems as an artifice of thought  3.3 Inertia as a concept in need of explanation4 If Inertia Is Conspiratorial, Should a Broad Class of Theories Be So Characterized?5 The Alleged Explanation of Inertia by Einsteinian Gravitation6 Conclusion http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Oxford University Press

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com
ISSN
0007-0882
eISSN
1464-3537
DOI
10.1093/bjps/axw032
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

I examine two claims that arise in Brown’s ([2005]) account of inertial motion. Brown claims there is something objectionable about the way in which the motions of free particles in Newtonian theory and special relativity are coordinated. Brown also claims that since a geodesic principle can be derived in Einsteinian gravitation, the objectionable feature is explained away. I argue that there is nothing objectionable about inertia and that while the theorems that motivate Brown’s second claim can be said to figure in a deductive–nomological explanation, their main contribution lies in their explication rather than their explanation of inertial motion.1 Introduction2 The Alleged Conspiracy3 The Conspirators Unmasked  3.1 The action–reaction principle  3.2 Global coordinate systems as an artifice of thought  3.3 Inertia as a concept in need of explanation4 If Inertia Is Conspiratorial, Should a Broad Class of Theories Be So Characterized?5 The Alleged Explanation of Inertia by Einsteinian Gravitation6 Conclusion

Journal

The British Journal for the Philosophy of ScienceOxford University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2018

References