The Philosophy of Space and Time (Dover Books on Physics) –

Reichenbach writes with clarity, reason and passion on a topic that is in much need of this still today It is accessible to the astute layperson there is some occasional math, but the text handles most of the important concepts It is useful for anyone interested in the combined scientific and philosophical perspective of space and time.Reichenbach, in the Introduction, rues the current estrangement of philosophy and science, longing for the natural philosophy of the past, where thinkers were well versed in both areas.So this book takes us through the philosophy of space and time accompanied and supported by empirical and theoretical scientific work He seems to have little in the way of agenda or isms to tout, nor is he inclined to spend much ink on rehashing historical debates or trivial examples And although the book winds it way eventually to General Relativity, we are thankfully not dragged through the typical Aristotlean view Galilean view Einsteinian view that is so commonly used.Instead, he begins by discussing Euclidean space, the nature of geometry and so on Throughout, the notion of topology is a common thread Time, simultaneity, Lorentz, Principle of Equivalence, and gravitational effects on the topology of spacetime, are some of the steps through the book.In section 39, for example, he guides us on a detour entitled The Analytic Treatment of Reimannian Spaces, just to carry the treatment of general geometry a little further In four short pages and a modicum of equations, the nature of tensors as a natural mathematical consequence appear, effortlessly and painlessly.All along, woven in, are cogent philosophical treatments of the topic currently under discussion The book is a good example of the author s desire to see philosophy and science melded again, and good example of his prowess in both areas. As a layman I have had difficulty understanding the four vector system that Minkowski and Einstein formulated Time does not seem to be a vector in the same way that space is time is unidirectional, or perhaps my mind perceives it in this manner Reichenbach tries to explain this geometry and it s consequences, and also tries to incorporate philosophy and epistemology in the discussion He admits that physics uses mathematical abstractions that may or may not represent reality.I would recommend this book to those curious about the meaning of space time with the slight caveat that Reichenbach was a Positivist, and there are many who disagree with the basic philosophy of Positivism. I haven t finished reading it, but I could truly say I LOVE IT I m currently a physics undergrad and I ve always enjoyed the idea of combining philosophy with science.I have been recommending it to some of my teachers and mentors. Not a very clear book A Brilliantly Clear And Penetrating Exposition Of Developments In Physical Science And Mathematics Brought About By The Advent Of Non Euclidean Geometries, Including In Depth Coverage Of The Foundations Of Geometry, The Theory Of Time, Einstein S Theory Of Relativity And Its Consequences, Other Key Topics