The philosophy of space and time

Isaac NewtonWith this brief post, i just want to draw your attention to a site i stumbled upon while writing my previous entry: the Philosophy of Space and Time pages at Kyoto University’s Philosophy and History of Science homepage. Despite the occasional sections in Japanese, most of the texts there are in English, very well written and usually accompanied by beautiful diagrams: their author, Prof. Soshichi Uchii, has a soft spot for painting and notable talent, as shown for instance in his portraits gallery). But, as i said, it’s Uchii’s essays and studies what’s really interesting in that site. I already mentioned the series on the Genesis of General Relativity, but there is much more, too much to list in here. For instance, the latest addition is an amazing collection of commented excerpts from the Clarke-Leibniz correspondence, which somehow commenced the still on-going debate between the relational and substantivists views of space-time. Definitely recommended reading, accessible to both experts and laymen.

Also worth noting are Uchii’s PHS Newsletters, which, among other things, contain carefully written book reviews: for instance here is the one devoted to two books that you may find interesting: Brian Green’s The fabric of the Cosmos and Lee Smolin’s Three Roads to Quantum Gravity, which describe the two ‘mainstream’ competitors in the race for a quantum theory of gravity (and, sometimes, everything). Also interesting is his review of Julian Barbour’s The End of Time, a provocative, to say the least, new way of bringing Mach’s principle to the forefront of our physical theories. Happy reading!

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One Response to “The philosophy of space and time”

  1. a philosophy student Says:

    Thanks for mentioning this link – and others like it. I had stumbled across this site in the past but seem to have forgotten about it.

    Note that Uchii mirrored his apparently excellent site @ Kyoto University, and will no longer update the Kyoto sites, probably due to “I am going to retire in March 2006”. The mirror “will be maintained as long as I am alive.”

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