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THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHYSICS FROM A PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVE
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The main thesis of the article is that the revolutionary development of physics around the beginning of the 20th century was essentially conceptual, not empirical. Mechanical, electromagnetic, and optical phenomena needed a unified conceptual framework. This was achieved by the replacement of the Galilean transformation by the Lorentz transformation. But the basis and rationale for the Lorentz symmetry of inertial frames is fundamentally a priori. The role of empirical observation is auxiliary rather than justificational. One may conclude that Albert Einstein conceived his famous theory in his pure mind and reason. But one must also add with some melancholy that such great discoveries, achieved with such limited means, are impossible in the future development of physics. The uniqueness of the above revolution is analogous to that of the point zero on the diagram of exponential function.
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