PSA 1972 pp 7-29 | Cite as

Some Topics for Philosophical Inquiry Concerning the Theories of Mathematical Geometrodynamics and of Physical Geometrodynamics

  • Charles W. Misner
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 20)


John Wheeler is the effective owner of the trade mark ‘geometrodynamics’, since he coined the word, so we look to him for the definition. In his introduction, Professor Grünbaum has quoted a number of things from Wheeler. I would like to point out that in recent papers Wheeler refers to “Einstein’s standard battle-tested 1915 geometrodynamics.” Wheeler therefore takes geometrodynamics as simply another name for standard general relativity. I think there is no doubt that he intends to exclude aberrations, such as the cosmological constant or the scalar-tensor (Brans-Dicke) theory of gravity. The central feature, in this view, is that geometry is part of physics. Geometry may even be such a blindingly beautiful part of physics as to nearly eclipse everything else. But there is no assertion (although also no denial) that all of physics is geometry. The coupled Einstein-Maxwell equations are a standard basis for current discussions of geometrodynamics. In this view, still summarizing Wheeler, the quantum is an absolutely essential element in order to have a satisfactory theory of geometrodynamics. Moreover, the neutrino may have a fundamental place in the world of geometrodynamics; the other elementary particles have yet to reveal how their foundations are rooted in the matrix of curved spacetime.


Black Hole Gravitational Field Gravitational Wave Physical Theory Test Particle 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht-Holland 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles W. Misner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MarylandUSA

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