Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Arguments of Time$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jeremy Butterfield

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263464

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263464.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 01 June 2020

The Development of Machian Themes in the Twentieth Century

The Development of Machian Themes in the Twentieth Century

Chapter:
(p.83) 5. The Development of Machian Themes in the Twentieth Century
Source:
The Arguments of Time
Author(s):

Julian Barbour

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197263464.003.0005

This chapter charts the complicated legacy of Mach's critique of absolute space and time. In 1902, Poincaré achieved a clear formulation of what a truly Machian mechanics should accomplish: it should permit a unique prediction of future motion on the basis of just the relative separations of bodies, and these separations' rates of change. However, this work made no impact on Einstein, despite his admiration for Mach. The discussion explains how several independent ideas that dominated Einstein's thinking about space, time and matter led him to a quite different interpretation (or misinterpretation) of Mach. This chapter also argues that, despite the misinterpretation, general relativity is perfectly Machian (in a sense that is the analogue for field theories of Poincaré's criterion), and that this shows general relativity to be ‘timeless’ in a certain sense, which is suggestive of quantum gravity.

Keywords:   absolute space, absolute time, Mach, quantum gravity, general relativity, Albert Einstein

British Academy Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.