Hilbert's "World Equations" and His Vision of a Unified Science
Abstract
In summer 1923, a year after his lectures on the `New Foundation of Mathematics' and half a year before the republication of his two notes on the `Foundations of Physics,' Hilbert delivered a trilogy of lectures in Hamburg. In these lectures, Hilbert expounds in an unusually explicit manner his epistemological perspective on science as a subdiscipline of an all embracing science of mathematics. The starting point of Hilbert's considerations is the claim that the class of gravitational and electromagnetic field equations implied by his original variational formulation of 1915 provides valid candidate `world equations,' even in view of attempts at unified field theories á la Weyl and Eddington based on the concept of the affine connection. We give a discussion of Hilbert's lectures and, in particular, examine his claim that Einstein in his 1923 papers on affine unified field theory only arrived at Hilbert's original 1915 theory. We also briefly comment on Hilbert's philosophical viewpoints expressed in these lectures.
 Publication:

The Universe of General Relativity
 Pub Date:
 2005
 DOI:
 10.1007/0817644547_14
 arXiv:
 arXiv:physics/0405110
 Bibcode:
 2005ugr..book..259M
 Keywords:

 Physics;
 Unified Field Theory;
 History;
 Physics  History and Philosophy of Physics;
 General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
 EPrint:
 23 pages