6 6 D O C . 1 4 D I A L O G U E A B O U T R E L A T I V I T Y T H E O R Y
13. “Dialogue about
Objections to the Theory of Relativity”
[Einstein 1918k]
Manuscript completed before 20 October 1918
Published 29 November 1918
In: Die Naturwissenschaften 6 (1918): 697–702.
Kritikus: People like me have quite often expressed their various doubts about
the theory of relativity in journals; but rarely has one of you
We do not want to go into the reasons for this neglect, whether it was arrogance, a
feeling of weakness, or laziness—perhaps it was an especially powerful mixture of
all these mental forces—or maybe the criticism also revealed, often with clear ev-
idence, that the critic really had too little knowledge of the subject matter. These
issues—as I have said—shall not be discussed; but one thing I want to tell you right
away: today I have come to you personally in order to make it impossible for you
to shirk it as has happened before. Because, I assure you, I will not yield until you
have answered all my questions.
But in order not to give you too much of a shock, since perhaps you even find
a certain pleasure in the task (which you cannot escape anyway), I will also tell
you something consoling. I am not, like some of my colleagues, so steeped in the
dignity of my guild as to come on like a superior being with otherworldly insight
and self-assuredness (like a science writer or, worse, a theater critic). I will rather
talk like a mortal human, the more so as I know that the father of criticism is quite
often a lack in own ideas. I also do not intend—as one of my colleagues recently
did—to attack you like prosecutors do, and charge you with theft of intellectual
property or other dishonorable acts. My intrusion was only motivated by a desire
to clarify several points on which opinions are still too divergent. But I must also
ask you to allow the publication of our dialogue, not the least because the shortage
of paper is not the only deficiency which deprives my friend, the editor Berolinen-
sis, of his sleep.
“Relativist” here means an adherent of the physical theory of relativity, not one of
philosophical relativism.
[p. 697]
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