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J. Brian Pitts
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preprint description
An overlap between the general relativist and particle physicist views of Einstein gravity is uncovered. Noether's 1918 paper developed Hilbert's and Klein's reflections on the conservation laws. Energy-momentum is just a term proportional to the field equations and a "curl" term with identically zero divergence. Noether proved a \emph{converse} "Hilbertian assertion": such "improper" conservation laws imply a generally covariant action. Later and independently, particle physicists derived the nonlinear Einstein equations assuming the absence of negative-energy degrees of freedom ("ghosts") for stability, along with universal coupling: all energy-momentum including gravity's serves as a source for gravity. Those assumptions (all but) imply (for 0 graviton mass) that the energy-momentum is only a term proportional to the field equations and a symmetric curl, which implies the coalescence of the flat background geometry and the gravitational potential into an effective curved geometry. The flat metric, though useful in Rosenfeld's stress-energy definition, disappears from the field equations. Thus the particle physics derivation uses a reinvented Noetherian converse Hilbertian assertion in Rosenfeld-tinged form. The Rosenfeld stress-energy is identically the canonical stress-energy plus a Belinfante curl and terms proportional to the field equations, so the flat metric is only a convenient mathematical trick without ontological commitment. Neither generalized relativity of motion, nor the identity of gravity and inertia, nor substantive general covariance is assumed. The more compelling criterion of lacking ghosts yields substantive general covariance as an output. Hence the particle physics derivation, though logically impressive, is neither as novel nor as ontologically laden as it has seemed.

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