On the distinction between absolute and relative motion

Philosophy of Science 67 (1):70-93 (2000)
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One of the issues dividing "absolutists" and "relationists" is the question whether all motion is relative motion or, in the words of Earman, spacetime has "structures that support absolute quantities of motion." This paper argues that, despite the enormous literature bearing on the topic, it is problematic to formulate a general criterion for when a quantity counts as absolute in contrast to merely relative in a way that is not hopelessly parasitic on other, presumably distinct, senses of "absolute." Furthermore, I suggest that the vicissitudes of the evolution of the concept of absolute motion have contributed to this difficulty



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Robert Rynasiewicz
Johns Hopkins University

References found in this work

Space, time, and spacetime.L. Sklar - 1976 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 172 (3):545-555.
The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence.H. G. Alexander - 1956 - Philosophy 32 (123):365-366.
Sidelights on Relativity.A. Einstein, G. B. Jeffery & W. Perrett - 1925 - Philosophical Review 34 (2):204-205.

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