A lengthy response to an inquiry sent by Herbert Kondo asking Einstein to "clear up some problems" regarding the work of certain philosophers, esp. of George Berkeley, as relates to matters of physics. Einstein's direct and thoughtful response in part:
"There is no room in physics for solipsism. Although the personal experiences of men are the sole motive for the formation of physical concepts — these concepts claim objective, that is interpersonal, meaning. Physics is an attempt to eliminate by way of conceptional construction — everything pertaining to the personal-(subjective) realm. Physics, therefore, has no room for the Berkeleyan considerations, useful as they are for the attainment of epistemological clarity (superseding naive realism). The theory of relativity changes, of course, nothing in this general attitude. Also in this theory justification and utility of the space-time continuum plays a somewhat different (less independent) role...
In the Galilei-Newton construction the objective roles of space and time lies in the description of topological and metrical relationships and in determining inertial motion. In the Faraday-Maxwell scheme of field theory, the space-time continuum is a necessary element of the field-concept. Quantum theory has changed nothing in this respect..."
Herbert Kondo (1924-2012) worked as Senior Science Editor for the MacMillan Co, and later as the Editor-In-Chief for Grolier/Scholastic Publishing. He wrote numerous articles and books treating the history of science, including two on Einstein: Adventures in Space & Time; the Story of Relativity (1966) and Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity (1969).
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