Hermann Weyl and “First Philosophy”: Constituting Gauge Invariance

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    • Pages : 279 à 298
    • ISBN : 978-1-4020-9509-2
    • DOI : 10.1007/978-1-4020-9510-8_17
    • Date de création : 04-01-2011
    • Dernière mise à jour : 22-02-2015



    The current vogue of naturalism – whether of a pragmatist, instrumentalist or realist variety – in philosophy of physics is largely attributable to a fiction promulgated by logical empiricism, but surviving the latter's demise. It states that relatively theory (especially general relativity) comprised a decisive refutation of Kant, and transcendental idealism more broadly. A closer look at the early years of general relativity reveals a considerably different picture. Here we trace how transcendental idealism informed Weyl's construction of a “purely infinitesimal geometry” whose additional (gauge) degrees of freedom enabled incorporation of electromagnetism into the spacetime metric.