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„An Outside View of Space and Time “

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Abstract

According to the standard interpretation of the special theory of relativity, space and time form a unity, which is described by the so-called Minkowski geometry. Using a distinction between inside and outside views, an alternative interpretation of special relativity can be formulated. This interpretation is connected to the construction of an outside view of space-time, which is described by a 4-dimensional and fully Euclidean geometry. The construction of an outside view also for general relativity is attempted, the basis for which lies in the assumption that the speed of light in a gravitational field – as seen from the outside -depends on gravitational potential and on direction. Finally, it is argued that the suggested outside view might serve as a basis for new approaches in the philosophy of space and time.

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... The standard interpretation of relativity theory does not provide an intuitive interface – not even to the physicist -for more general theorizing about space and time. In [5,6] we have shown that a much simpler interpretation of relativity theory is possible. The Minkowski geometry of the standard interpretation, which treats space and time in a still different way, can be replaced by an outside view consisting in a 4- dimensional and fully Euclidean 3 geometry that lacks any fundamental difference between space and time dimensions. ...
Article
phenomena of time which aims at explaining why time passes for us1. The basis for our investigation is a fundamental distinction between two views. Science can be understood as an attempt to construct a God-like, outside view of the world we live in. However, all our experiences and measurements take place inside this world, and are results of interactions between an observer and the thing observed. The suggested outside view from which we tackle the problems of time is radical. The universe is seen as one spacetime whole which cannot be divided into fully describable parts. For the analysis of the spacetime whole, a concept of complexity is introduced which is built upon the notions of continuity and discontinuity. On its basis, a very general duality relation between two aspects of space-time structure is formulated. The outside view can be related to the inside view by assuming that continuity (in space or time) goes hand in hand with experienced identification (in space or time). This move, together with an assumption concerning the relation of structural containment, makes it possible to understand the passage of time - as it is experienced by the inside observer - from the viewpoint of an outside observer.
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We suppose that the reason for the obvious hardness of the so-called hard problem of consciousness lies in two implicit assumptions characteristic of western thinking. The assumption of the fundamental existence of the object and the assumption of the fundamental existence of the self cannot both be valid, if something like a psychophysical link is taken for granted. Other than monistic approaches that are incompatible with one of the two assumptions, we strictly reject both assumptions. Spacetime holism, which in the first place is a view of the material world, can be extended by an assumption on the nature of consciousness, thus providing the basis for a non-reductive solution to the hard problem of consciousness.
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This paper is a historical and critical review of an ether theory which starts with rod contraction and clock retardation, and a comparison between this ether theory and the special theory of relativity. The two theories are generally equivalent since they both lead to the Lorentz transformation equations. The possibility of an experimental difference between the two theories may lie in a one-way experiment, and this subject is briefly explored with the tentative conclusion that so far it seems that no one has made a specific proposal for such a crucial one-way experiment nor has anyone conclusively demonstrated the impossibility of such a test.
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