Understanding Space-Time by Disalle R.

By Disalle R.

Offers the background of space-time physics, from Newton to Einstein, as philosophical and clinical advancements.

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The second point had been absolutely essential, in fact, to overcoming what had otherwise seemed to be good empirical arguments against any motion of the Earth. Therefore Newton’s ideas of absolute space and absolute motion represented just the sort of primitive metaphysical thinking – a kind of reification of abstract objects – from which physics was now trying to escape, in order to become an empirical science. Huygens and Leibniz were particularly emphatic in rejecting these ideas. But Newton, through his notorious “water-bucket” experiment, claimed to know how to determine true motion dynamically: the centrifugal forces that arise in the spinning bucket demonstrate that the water is rotating, not merely relative to its material surroundings (the local frame of reference), but with respect to space itself.

The force experienced by an accelerating body is, again, independent of its initial velocity. e. of the velocity of the center of gravity of the body. Perhaps Newton assumed that, since the velocity of rotation is measurable from centrifugal forces, velocity in general is well-defined. But, as Huygens clearly understood – apparently alone, in Newton’s time – centrifugal force is a function of a difference of velocity, namely the difference between the velocities of points on a rotating body; to take the simplest case, diametrically opposite points on a rotating disk have opposite velocities.

408–9). In short, absolute space is that with respect to which the velocity of every body is its true velocity. It requires, therefore, that we should be able to say of any thing whether it occupies the same place from moment to moment. In 26 Absolute motion and the emergence of classical mechanics F t2 F′ d t1 Figure 3. , between a family of parallel trajectories F, which pass through the same spatial positions at successive moments of time, and another family F , which maintain the same mutual distances, but which change spatial positions over time.

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