D O C . 1 3 1 D I S C U S S I O N O N R E L A T I V I T Y 1 2 9
131. “The Theory of Relativity.” Discussion Remarks
at a Meeting of the Société française de Philosophie
[Einstein et al. 1922]
Dated 6 April 1922
Published July 1922
In: Société française de Philosophie. Bulletin 22 (1922): 91–113.
Mr. Einstein. I just have a word to say about Mr. Hadamard’s remarks. Mr.
Hadamard said that a physical theory must first of all be logical, then agree with
the experimental findings. I do not believe that this is sufficient and, in any case,
this is not evident a priori. To say that a theory is logical means that it is built of
symbols that are linked among themselves by means of certain rules; and to say that
theory is in conformity with experience means that one possesses rules of corre-
spondence between these symbols and the findings. Relativity arose out of experi-
mental necessity; this theory is logical in the sense that one can give it deductive
form, but clear rules that make its elements correspond to reality still need to be
known; thus there are three postulates, not two, as Mr. Hadamard thought.
[. . .]
Mr. Einstein. Which tensor is that?
[. . .]
Mr. Einstein. Geometry is an arbitrary conception; one is always free to
adopt the one one wants, in particular, a Euclidean geometry; but Euclidean con-
cepts do not have any physical meaning and cannot serve us physicists. Moreover,
the relation between the real continuum and imagined geometrical space is not uni-
vocal and one cannot say that one manner of speaking is preferable to another.
[. . .]
Mr. Einstein. One can always choose the representation one wishes if one
believes it is more convenient than another for the task one proposes to undertake;
but it has no objective meaning.
[. . .]
[p. 97]
[p. 98]
[p. 99]
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