Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Volume 41, number 123, diciembre 2009
El éter relativista: un cambio conceptual inconcluso
[Relativistic Ether: Unfinished Conceptual Change]
Alejandro Cassini
Universidad de Buenos Aires/CONICET
Marcelo Leonardo Levinas
Universidad de Buenos Aires/CONICET
Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio (IAFE)

Abstract: Einstein’s initial attitude towards electromagnetic ether in special relativity was deeply disrupted by general relativity. In this paper we analyze Einstein’s different arguments against electromagnetic ether in the frame of special relativity. We then study his reasons for postulating a gravitatory ether in general relativity. After comparing the properties and functions of the traditional electromagnetic ether with those of the new relativistic ether, we conclude that a conceptual change has occurred, because the term “ether” has undergone a change of meaning. However, we also show that the new ether still retains many properties and functions characteristic of the old electromagnetic ether.
Keywords: special relativity, gravitatory ether, space-time, general relativity, change of meaning

Abstract in Spanish | PDF en Spanish (205 Kb)