4. I. J. Good, The Self‐Consistency of the Kinematics of Special Relativity, Part V(A)

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Volume 16: Pages 29-42, 2003

The SelfConsistency of the Kinematics of Special Relativity, Part V(A)

I. J. Good

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Dingle's question [Science at the Crossroads (Martin Brian & O'Keeffe, London, 1972] is answered in an obvious manner, and a Minkowskian or spacetime geometrical interpretation is added to exemplify again the mutual compatibility of the Einsteinian and Minkowskian approaches to KSTR, the kinematics of the special theory of relativity. The debate with McCausland is continued. He attempted to save his earlier claim of an inconsistency in KSTR, in which he had taken a familiar statement of Einstein's literally and out of context. McCausland is challenged to derive the literal interpretation of Einstein's statement from the (special) Lorentz transformation (LT). McCausland [Phys. Essays 9, 484 (1996)] required, contrary to KSTR, that synchronicity of clocks not depend on the choice of inertial observer. McCausland [Phys. Essays 12, 438 (1999), Section 4] criticized Einstein's discussion of the point, but he appeared to base his argument on an erroneous statement by Dingle. The lack of invariance of synchronicity is a simple deduction from the special LT. There are better derivations of the LT (from Einstein's basic assumptions) than the original one, at least one of which was first published by Einstein [Relativity: The Special and General Theory (Wings Books, New York, 1961)] in 1918. It was elegant but it contained an error. This error was eventually noticed and corrected by Good [Phys. Essays 13, 580 (2000)]. Whether or not McCausland had accepted that or any other improved derivation, the debate might have been better focused had he confined his attempts to showing an inconsistency in the LT. The selfconsistency of KSTR cannot be proved; it just becomes increasingly probable when its inner coherence is developed and when additional intelligent attempts to derive an inconsistency are found to be fallacious. The erratum for Part IV of this series of articles is further easily corrected.

Keywords: clock paradoxes, Dingle's question, Einstein's slip, geometry of Dingle's question, KSTR, Lorentz transformation, Minkowski's (absolute) world, MKSTR, STR

Received: July 17, 2001; Published online: December 15, 2008