Weyl and Reichenbach
Hermann Weyl and Hans Reichenbach stood on opposite sides in a debate that ostensibly turned on whether rigid rods and ideal clocks do or should play an epistemologically fundamental role in GTR. Weyl’s unification of gravitation and electromagnetism on the basis of an epistemological principle of “relativity of magnitude” is the first explicit example of a gauge theory. The Einstein-Pauli “prehistory” objection is considered. It is shown how Reichenbach’s “constructive axiomatization” of GTR based on rigid rods and clocks is expressly targeted on Weyl’s theory. Einstein’s epistemological objections to Weyl are belied by his own practice in pursuit of a unified field theory.
Keywords: Hermann Weyl, Hans Reichenbach, rigid rods, ideal clocks, gravitation, electromagnetism, principle of relativity of magnitude, gauge theory, Einstein-Pauli prehistory objection, Albert Einstein
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