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The Reign of RelativityPhilosophy in Physics 1915-1925$
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Thomas Ryckman

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195177176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195177177.001.0001

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“World Building”

“World Building”

Structuralism and Transcendental Idealism in Eddington

(p.177) “World Building”
The Reign of Relativity

Thomas Ryckman

Oxford University Press

It is shown how the epistemological thesis that physics can provide knowledge only of the structure of the physical world emerged in Arthur Eddington’s semi-popular, philosophical and technical writings on the general theory of relativity. The implicitly Kantian character of Eddington’s conception of “world building” in a geometrized physics is developed through examination of Eddington’s two principal works on general relativity. Eddington’s structuralism is contrasted with that associated with Bertrand Russell, and his conception of the mind’s role in “world building” is linked to earlier views of the mathematician William Kingdom Clifford.

Keywords:   epistemology, structure, physical world, Arthur Eddington, geometrized physics, general theory of relativity, structuralism, Bertrand Russell, structural realism, William Kingdom Clifford

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