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Special Relativity without One-Way Velocity Assumptions: Part I

John A. Winnie
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 37, No. 1 (Mar., 1970), pp. 81-99
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/186029
Page Count: 19
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Special Relativity without One-Way Velocity Assumptions: Part I
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Abstract

The Reichenbach-Grunbaum thesis of the conventionality of simultaneity is clarified and defended by developing the consequences of the Special Theory when assumptions are not made concerning the one-way speed of light. It is first shown that the conventionality of simultaneity leads immediately to the conventionality of all relative speeds. From this result, the general-length-contraction and time-dilation relations are then derived. Next, the place of time-dilation and length-contraction effects within the Special Theory is examined in the light of the conventionality thesis. The slow-transport method of synchrony is then examined in the light of these results and is shown not to provide an adequate method of uniquely determining the one-way speed of light. Finally, the general ε -Lorentz transformations for events along the x-axis are derived from three principles: the round-trip light principle, the principle of equal passage times, and the linearity principle. These principles are shown to be independent of one-way velocity assumptions, and thus may form the basis of a Special Theory of Relativity without distant simultaneity assumptions.

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