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Volume 15: Pages 199-210, 2002
The Normalization Problem of Special Relativity
Stumpergasse 63/11, A‐1060 Vienna, Austria
For the special theory of relativity, the normalization problem is formulated as the question of how observers in constant relative motion may reach an agreement on space and time scales. Because the normalization problem does not receive a thorough treatment in the standard development of the theory, two possible solutions, called normalization at rest and normalization in motion, are suggested. It is shown that normalization in motion makes the validity of the Lorentz transformation the result of mere conventions. The nonconventional approach following from normalization at rest requires an assumption concerning the acceleration of objects. A conceptual distinction between inside and outside observation, together with the analysis of the normalization problem, allows us to formulate an alternative interpretation of special relativity contrasting both the standard interpretation and Lorentz‐type interpretations.
Keywords: interpretation of special relativity, inside versus outside views, normalization problem
Received: November 15, 2001; Published online: December 15, 2008