(Re)interpreting E= mc2

Federico Benitez, Diego Romero-Maltrana, Pablo Razeto-Barry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We propose a new interpretation of the equation E= mc2 in special relativity by generalizing ideas of ontological emergence to fundamental physics. This allows us to propose that mass, as a property, can be considered to emerge from energy, using a well-known definition of weak ontological emergence. Einstein’s famous equation gains in this way a clearer philosophical interpretation, one that avoids the problems of previous attempts, and is fully consistent with the kinematic properties of special relativity, while yielding fresh insights concerning the nature of mass.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalFoundations of Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Emergence
  • Higgs mechanism
  • Interpretation of physics
  • Special relativity


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