Bell's 'Lorentzian Pedagogy': A Bad Education

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Nerlich, Graham
preprint description
Bell’s 'Lorentzian Pedagogy' has been extolled as a constructive account of the relativistic contraction of moving rods. Bell claimed advantages for teaching relativity through the older approach of Lorentz, Fitzgerald and Larmor. However, he describes the differences between their absolutist approach and the relativistic one as philosophical, and claims that the facts of physics do not force us to choose between them. Bell’s interpretation of the physics of motion contraction, and therefore of constructivist as opposed to principle approaches, is indeterminate. His flawed pedagogy never directly addresses the difference between Fitzgerald and Lorentz contractions.