Space and Time [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 23 (3):568-568 (1970)

The virtue of this book is that it brings together in one volume discussions related to our ordinary conception of space and time on the one hand and discussions related to the conception of space and time in contemporary physical theory on the other. Thus we have discussion of the topology, metrical geometry, and tri-dimensionality of space; absolute vs. relative space; the order and direction of time in physical theory; the size and physical limits of the universe; and the beginning and end of the universe in contemporary cosmological theory. But in addition there is discussion of the problems of identifying objects in space and time, including problems of personal identity, the notion of place and its relation to matter, the ordinary conception of past and future, and other topics. The author works through this maze by making use of a distinction between the necessary and contingent properties of space and time. His manner of drawing the line between the necessary and contingent is surely the most controversial aspect of his book. Certain cosmological theories, for example, are ruled out on logical grounds despite the fact that they may be compatible with general relativity. But the author's arguments are challenging and are backed up by an extensive knowledge of contemporary physical theory as well as of recent philosophical discussion of space and time in the English speaking world.--R. H. K.
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DOI revmetaph197023342
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