The primacy of geometry

Amit Hagar, Meir Hemmo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We argue that in current spacetime physics there can be no dynamical derivation of primitive geometrical notions such as length. We illustrate our argument by focusing on two case studies: the special theory of relativity and some approaches to quantum gravity, and we argue that in these cases, some geometrical notions are assumed rather than derived. Our argument suggests a new reading of Einstein's views on the status of geometry vs. dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-364
Number of pages8
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank an anonymous referee and the editors of this volume for valuable comments. AH's research was supported by the NSF , Grant SES 0951179 . MH's research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation , grant 713/10 and the German–Israel Foundation , grant 1054-112.4/2009 .


  • Dynamics
  • Emergence
  • Geometry
  • Length
  • Lorentz-invariance
  • Spacetime
  • Special relativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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