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Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time (Princeton Foundations of Contemporary Philosophy)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  16 reviews

This concise book introduces nonphysicists to the core philosophical issues surrounding the nature and structure of space and time, and is also an ideal resource for physicists interested in the conceptual foundations of space-time theory. Tim Maudlin's broad historical overview examines Aristotelian and Newtonian accounts of space and time, and traces how Galileo's

Kindle Edition, 200 pages
Published July 22nd 2012 by Princeton University Press
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Peter Mcloughlin
Covers the ideas about space and time and reference frames from the time of Galileo through Einstein's relativity to the present. Covers the foundational assumptions behind absolute space, absolute time and Relativity's spacetime. Some physics and math knowledge required.
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book. I started reading it just to get a clearer picture on a couple of concepts of geometry, but the writing is so good that I kept turning the pages and eventually stuck with it to the end. The lessons on topology, transformations, and absolute space and time were just fantastic; I never knew something as commonsensical as Euclidean space would have so much involved. The book has 7 chapters, and the first 3 were easy, anyone can dive right in. Chapter 4, with the ...more
Leonardo Rydin Gorjão
A fairly comprehensive overlook on the philosophical problems from Newton to Einstein in regards to our perception of time and space. From the ontological character of space and time in Euclidean space, to the extensive and still difficult subtleties of curved spacetime. Dr. Maudlin clarifies on only old, but rooted misconceptions, but also brings forth clear descriptions for these misapprehensions.
José Uría
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un excelente tratado de filosofía de la física, centrado en el concepto de espacio-tiempo. La exposición es buena, amena y muy rigurosa, lo que lo convierte en una lectura muy agradable. Presenta algunos puntos de vista sobre el significado de la relatividad especial que no se corresponden con la visión popular entre la mayoría de los físicos. Quizá lo mejor es la presentación de las ideas de espacio absoluto en mecánica clásica, y la parte dedicada a la relatividad especial. También comenta ...more
Lucas G.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, philosophy, physics
This is Volume 1 of a 2 volume contribution by Tim Maudlin to the Princeton Foundations of Contemporary Philosophy series. Maudlin specializes in the philosophy of physics, and this volume introduces the concepts and questions relevant to understanding space and time. While most of us may take the meaning of the words "space" and "time" to be trivial and even uninteresting, Maudlin reveals that this is far from the truth. He begins by outlining some historical conceptions of space and time, but ...more
Gregory Strong
I finished this book today, though I can hardly say I grasped much of it with deep comprehension. Maudlin's treatment of the philosophy of the physics of space and time contains more mathematics than I can easily follow. It's been such a long time since I delved into mathematics beyond adding and subtracting in a bank account. Still, now and then I got some of the meanings of changing views of space and time from Euclidian geometry and Newtonian absolute space and absolute time to space-time ...more
Kayleigh Rodgers
While the aim of the book is supposedly to introduce non-physicists to core philosophical ideas in space and time, the book is hard to follow unless you have at least some background in physics. In many places, Maudlin seems to assume that readers will have an understanding of math and physics terminology, as well as some knowledge of calculus. As a result, important terms go undefined and equations are never fully explained. I've seen a number of these concepts explained in more accessible ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is super dense. While it is not very long, it could easily be taught as a semester long college course. It is very informative and thorough in its exploration of the subject. It was just the wrong choice for me to try to take to the pool everyday. I may revisit it if I ever become an astronaut.
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would like to present an interesting theory in the future
To Chin
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely well-written introduction to relativity. Must read for physicists.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A concise, accessible, enjoyable, responsible and rewarding survey of the historical development of the physicist's conception of space and time.

I say it's concise because this volume weighs in at about 200 pages and covers spatial/temporal geometries from Aristotle, Newton, Galileo and Einstein.

There's certainly a bit of math in the book, but not so much as to exclude the layperson. The descriptions and diagrams provided are about as clear as they can be, given the subject.

I say it's
Brian Tracz
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a briskly paced survey of conceptual issues in physics, using light mathematics to illustrate the larger geometrical picture of space and time. Maudlin's writing style is dry but clear, and the material and its presentation are engaging. I found the discussion of the Newton/Leibniz dispute over absolute space to be quite illuminative, and it was interesting to see Maudlin parse out which conceptual facets of Relativity (Special and General) are truly a departure from Galilean space-time, ...more
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
Maudlin’s introduction to the Philosophy of Physics (Volume 1): Space & Time is a brief and somewhat concise account of the key historical theories of space and time, and a few core philosophical concerns with these theories.

Maudlin offers clear explanations of the necessary components of each theory. However, some of the components explicitly skipped or left unaddressed could have been more smoothly transitioned, or even justified in greater detail. One issue specifically would be less
Nice overview of the philosophy of physics without an analysis of time. Author doesn't cover relativity with the same clarity that he covers Aristotle and Newton.
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, science
The book was not an easy read, but the author presented these difficult concepts (especially to the non-physicist reader) in a non-technical and easy to understand language.
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