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

Author: Hans Reichenbach

Price: $12.05

Series: Dover Books on Physics

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: Dover Publications; 1st English Ed. edition (June 1, 1957)

Language: English

Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches

1. Introduction

With unusual depth and clarity, it covers the problem of the foundations of geometry, the theory of time, the theory and consequences of Einstein's relativity including: relations between theory and observations, coordinate definitions, relations between topological and metrical properties of space, the psychological problem of the possibility of a visual intuition of non-Euclidean structures, and many other important topics in modern science and philosophy.

While some of the book utilizes mathematics of a somewhat advanced nature, the exposition is so careful and complete that most people familiar with the philosophy of science or some intermediate mathematics will understand the majority of the ideas and problems discussed.

Partial CONTENTS: I. The Problem of Physical Geometry. Universal and Differential Forces. Visualization of Geometries. Spaces with non-Euclidean Topological Properties. Geometry as a Theory of Relations. II. The Difference between Space and Time. Simultaneity. Time Order. Unreal Sequences. Ill. The Problem of a Combined Theory of Space and Time. Construction of the Space-Time Metric. Lorentz and Einstein Contractions. Addition Theorem of Velocities. Principle of Equivalence. Einstein's Concept of the Problems of Rotation and Gravitation. Gravitation and Geometry. Riemannian Spaces. The Singular Nature of Time. Spatial Dimensions. Reality of Space and Time.

"John E. Freund." Professor of Mathematics Emeritus Arizona State University Educated at the University of London, U.C.L.A., Columbia University, and the University of Pittsburgh, Doctor Freund's interest in Mathematics, Logic, and the Philosophy of Science led him to a career in statistics. Keynoted by his approach to statistics as a way of thinking, and as such a refinement of everyday thinking, his textbooks in statistics at various levels and for various fields of application have been bestsellers for fifty years.

2. Comment

1) By Arja Turunen-Red on December 14, 1999

Format: Paperback

This is an absolutely fabulous book about the foundations of special and general relativity. The author's deep understanding of and insight to these complex structures is beautifully displayed and explained using simple but nontrivial examples and very readable text. If you really want to understand relativity, you must read this book. The focus is not on formal mathematics but on the real, intuitive, content of the concepts and the mathematical theory.

If you have been confused by discussions of rigid rods, clocks, simultaneity etc. in other sources, check out Reichenbach's construction of the light geometry and his discussion of the indefinite space type. Want to understand how gravity affects spacetime but do not want to study differential geometry? Read Reichenbach's sections on the Riemannian spaces and his chapter about space and time in gravitational fields. No other source explains these relationships as clearly and without resorting to silly or trivial examples.

A beautiful scholarly book which is thoroughly accessible. The author's great love of the subject is much in evidence.

2) By Carlo Del Noce on September 28, 2006

Format: Paperback

The reference to "A." which Mr. Ecce Nihil could not find is to a German book by Reichenbach, as written in the author's introduction at page xv. Reichenbach's book IS consistent. It is one of the few books on relativity explaining the question of clock synchronization properly and comprehensively ( in the sense of Bridgman's operational view ).

3. Buying link: