Einstein's Mass-Energy Equation, Volume I: Early History and Philosophical Foundations

Francisco Fernflores

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In volume one of Einstein’s Mass-Energy Equation, we examine the history and philosophical significance of several demonstrations Einstein published for his mass–energy relation, which is often expressed by the iconic equation E = mc2. Our goal is to illustrate how these demonstrations display a clear shift away from a reliance on electromagnetic phenomena culminating in Einstein’s 1934 purely “dynamic” demonstration. Philosophically, this trend signals the importance of recognizing special relativity as what Einstein called a “principle theory.”

Volume two of this work examines the role that Einstein’s mass–energy relation played in the development of quantum mechanics and general relativity. We also discuss the first empirical confirmation of E = mc2 and some contemporary debates concerning the philosophical interpretation of this important result.

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Francisco Fernflores

Dr. Francisco Fernflores earned a BSc in philosophy and physics from the University of Toronto and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He has published several articles in philosophy of science and the history and philosophy of physics. Currently, Dr. Fernflores is professor of philosophy at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, CA where he enjoys teaching philosophy of physics, philosophy of science, formal logic, and philosophical classics.