The Conventionality of Simultaneity and Einstein’s Conventionality of Geometry

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Abstract

The conventionality of simultaneity thesis as established by Reichenbach and Grünbaum is related to the partial freedom in the definition of simultaneity in an inertial reference frame. An apparently altogether different issue is that of the conventionality of spatial geometry, or more generally the conventionality of chronogeometry when taking also into account the conventionality of the uniformity of time. Here we will consider Einstein’s version of the conventionality of (chrono)geometry, according to which we might adopt a different spatial geometry and a particular definition of equality of successive time intervals. The choice of a particular chronogeometry would not imply any change in a theory, since its “physical part” can be changed in a way that, regarding experimental results, the theory is the same. Here, we will make the case that the conventionality of simultaneity is closely related to Einstein’s conventionality of chronogeometry, as another conventional element leading to it.

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