Article

Space and Time

Alasdair Richmond

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0115
Space and Time

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The nature of space and time has provided a focus for sustained philosophical debate for centuries and has inspired some fascinating interactions between metaphysics and physics. Although many of the entries presented herein could easily be expanded into bibliographies in their own right, the included will observe certain restrictions and will not, for example, deal with significant related areas such as personal identity, causation, freedom, or mereology. It would be easy to let issues about time predominate to the virtual exclusion of space, and this bibliography inevitably offers more coverage of issues to do with time than space. However, in an attempt to ensure that key topics in the philosophy of space are not entirely neglected, considerations of balance have dictated that only minimal references are made here to debates over, for example, the directionality of time or time as construed in quantum theory. The works selected for this bibliography concentrate primarily on current work in space and time but also include some pointers to earlier significant discussions such as the absolutist/relationalist debate and arguments for antirealism about space and time. Recent work has focused especially on the metaphysical and semantic problems posed by time, but live issues in the philosophy of space still attract discussion, including the nature of space as substance or ontological commitment and the impact of higher-dimensional spaces on physical and metaphysical issues. One area of rapidly expanding interest concerns the impact that different varieties of space-time might have on the scope of computation. Some relativistic space-times seem to offer the prospect of allowing one observer to access in a finite time the proceeds of another observer’s infinite-time task. In such space-times, the effectively computable outstrips the Turing-computable and the Church–Turing thesis fails. Another issue of recently growing popularity is time travel, increasingly being considered under diverse physical and metaphysical aspects and not just as a source of logical paradoxes.

Article.  7566 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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