Special Relativity in Superposition

Axiomathes 32 (2):199-213 (2022)
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By deriving the Lorentz transformation from the absolute speed of light, Einstein demonstrated the relativistic variability of space and time, enabling him to explain length contraction and time dilation without recourse to a "luminiferous ether" or preferred frame of reference. He also showed that clocks synchronized at a distance via light signals are not synchronized in a frame of reference differing from that of the clocks. However, by mislabeling the relativity of synchrony the "relativity of simultaneity," Einstein implied that this effect concerns an actual difference in times from one frame to another rather than merely a failure of clock synchronization across frames. As a theory of length contraction and time dilation on the basis of relative motion in the context of the absolute speed of light, special relativity is the definitive interpretation of the Lorentz transformation and the correct explanation of relativistic phenomena. The relativity of simultaneity, as I demonstrate, plays no role in this explanation but instead provides apparent justification for a view of time in which the present moment is frame-dependent. In contrast to its legitimate application, special relativity fails as a theory of time on the basis of the relativity of simultaneity.

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