Could you explain how it did inspire Einstein, and if Einstein gave him any credit for any of his ideas?

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    Einstein himself wrote that Hume and Mach were his philosophical inspirations. See, for example, How Hume and Mach Helped Einstein Find Special Relativity. – Nick R Feb 23 at 23:22
  • no idea, but i've seen it said that kant was obnoxiously / very right about a lot of things he had no idea but – user35983 Feb 24 at 0:45
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    Not in any direct way. Einstein credited Mach for philosophical inspiration, and one can find some vague affinity between Kant's philosophy of physics and some of Mach's ideas. As for direct "credit", Norton calls what Einstein wrote on synthetic a priori "a thinly veiled repudiation of Kant. The veil would have been all but completely transparent to Einstein's German language readers". Weinert is more charitable. – Conifold Feb 24 at 3:29
  • Einstein was a nobody promoted by the oligarchs so they can hide true practical physics from the world in favor of good for movies only theories that eventually deployed a deep fog over the true physics. – Overmind Feb 26 at 10:56


It’s perhaps not so well known that Gauss was inspired by Kant to theorise non-Euclidean Geometry. Riemann was a student of Gauss and was inspired to come up with the general notion of Riemannian manifolds. This was definitely enough for Clifford to hypothesise that forces are, essentially, waves in space. Einstein as well as Nordstrom took up this technology to theorise gravity in a geometrical form. This notion has spread to all the other forces, so we generally think of forces as geometrical in some way or another.

It’s possible to speculate, in the way that the modern notion of atoms has its antecedent in Democritean atoms, that the modern notion of waves is due to Thales thinking of the world as water.

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