Understanding Space-Time. The Philosophical Development of Physics from Newton to Einstein

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  • Pages : XIII-173
  • Support : Print
  • Format : 24 cm.
  • Langues : Anglais
  • Édition : Original
  • Ville : Cambridge
  • ISBN : 9780521857901 (hbk.)
  • URL : Lien externe
  • Date de création : 16-02-2012
  • Dernière mise à jour : 16-02-2012



Presenting the history of space-time physics, from Newton to Einstein, as a philosophical development, DiSalle reflects our increasing understanding of the connections between ideas of space and time and our physical knowledge. He suggests that philosophy's greatest impact on physics has come about, less by the influence of philosophical hypotheses, than by the philosophical analysis of concepts of space, time and motion, and the roles they play in our assumptions about physical objects and physical measurements. This way of thinking leads to interpretations of the work of Newton and Einstein and the connections between them. It also offers ways of looking at old questions about a priori knowledge, the physical interpretation of mathematics, and the nature of conceptual change. Understanding Space-Time will interest readers in philosophy, history and philosophy of science, and physics, as well as readers interested in the relations between physics and philosophy. – Contents : – 1. Introduction; – 2. Absolute motion and the emergence of classical mechanics (Newton and the history of the philosophy of science; The revisionist view; The scientific and philosophical context of Newton’s theory; The definition of absolute time; Absolute space and motion; Newton’s De Gravitatione et aequipondio fluidorum; The Newtonian program; “To exhibit the system of the world”; Newton’s accomplishment); – 3. Empiricism and apriorism from Kant to Poincaré (A new approach to the metaphysics of nature; Kant’s turn from Leibniz to Newton; Kant, Leibniz, and the conceptual foundations of science; Kant on absolute space; Helmholtz and the empiricist critique of Kant; The conventionalist critique of Helmholtz’s empiricism; The limits of Poincaré’s conventionalism; The nineteenth-century achievement); – 4. The origins of significance of relativity theory (The philosophical background to special relativity; Einstein’s analysis of simultaneity; From special relativity to the “postulate of the absolute world”; The philosophical motivations for general relativity; The construction of curved space-time; General relativity and “world-structure”; The philosophical significance of general relativity); – 5. Conclusion (Space and time in the history of physics; On physical theory and interpretation).