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In physics, the term relativity is used in several related contexts:

  • Galileo first developed the principle of relativity, which was the postulate that claimed that the laws of physics be the same for all observers, and advocated a classical view that time was a universal constant.
  • Einstein's theory of relativity consists of special relativity and general relativity, which reshaped the classical view, arguing instead that observed time is not constant, but relative to the observer, and therefore the "inertial frame of reference" is only meaningful if qualified by theories of relativity that defines the general context for the frame.

At any rate, the term "relativity" should not be confused with relativism. The theory of relativity is a piece of objective science with very concrete, testable consquences, while the purpose of relativism is very different, namely to question all universal truths.

Last updated: 02-08-2005 12:09:55
Last updated: 03-09-2005 20:29:13