This paper is a brief (and hopelessly incomplete) non-standard introduction to the philosophy of space and time. It is an introduction because I plan to give an overview of what I consider some of the main questions about space and time: Is space a substance over and above matter? How many dimensions does it have? Is space-time fundamental or emergent? Does time have a direction? Does time even exist? Nonetheless, this introduction is not standard because I (...) conclude the discussion by presenting the material with an original spin, guided by a particular understanding of fundamental physical theories, the so-called primitive ontology approach. (shrink)
‘Space does not exist fundamentally: it emerges from a more fundamental non-spatial structure.’ This intriguing claim appears in various research programs in contemporary physics. Philosophers of physics tend to believe that this claim entails either that spacetime does not exist, or that it is derivatively real. In this article, I introduce and defend a third metaphysical interpretation of the claim: reductionism about space. I argue that, as a result, there is no need to subscribe to fundamentality, layers of (...) reality and emergence in order to analyse the constitution of space by non-spatial entities. It follows that space constitution, if borne out, does not provide empirical evidence in favour of a stratified, Aristotelian in spirit, metaphysics. The view will be described in relation to two particular research programs in contemporary physics: wave function realism and loop quantum gravity. (shrink)
This essay explores theories of place, or lived-space, as regards the role of objectivity and the problem of relativism. As will be argued, the neglect of mathematics and geometry by the lived-space theorists, which can be traced to the influence of the early phenomenologists, principally the later Husserl and Heidegger, has been a major contributing factor in the relativist dilemma that afflicts the lived-space movement. By incorporating various geometrical concepts within the analysis of place, it is demonstrated (...) that the lived-space theorists can gain a better insight into the objective spatial relationships among individuals and within groups—and, more importantly, this appeal to mathematical content need not be construed as undermining the basic tenants of the lived-space approach. (shrink)
Ian Stoner has recently argued that we ought not to colonize Mars because doing so would flout our pro tanto obligation not to violate the principle of scientific conservation, and there is no countervailing considerations that render our violation of the principle permissible. While I remain agnostic on, my primary goal in this article is to challenge : there are countervailing considerations that render our violation of the principle permissible. As such, Stoner has failed to establish that we ought not (...) to colonize Mars. I close with some thoughts on what it would take to show that we do have an obligation to colonize Mars and related issues concerning the relationship between the way we discount our preferences over time and projects with long time horizons, like space colonization. (shrink)
Presenting the history of space-time physics, from Newton to Einstein, as a philosophical development DiSalle reflects our increasing understanding of the connections between ideas of space and time and our physical knowledge. He suggests that philosophy's greatest impact on physics has come about, less by the influence of philosophical hypotheses, than by the philosophical analysis of concepts of space, time and motion, and the roles they play in our assumptions about physical objects and physical measurements. This way (...) of thinking leads to interpretations of the work of Newton and Einstein and the connections between them. It also offers ways of looking at old questions about a priori knowledge, the physical interpretation of mathematics, and the nature of conceptual change. Understanding Space-Time will interest readers in philosophy, history and philosophy of science, and physics, as well as readers interested in the relations between physics and philosophy. (shrink)
Life, but not as we know it -- Still life in nearly present time -- Driving and the city -- Movement-space -- Afterwords -- From born to made -- Spatialities of feeling -- But malice aforethought -- Turbulent passions.
Material objects persist through time and survive change. How do they manage to do so? What are the underlying facts of persistence? Do objects persist by being "wholly present" at all moments of time at which they exist? Or do they persist by having distinct "temporal segments" confined to the corresponding times? Are objects three-dimensional entities extended in space, but not in time? Or are they four-dimensional spacetime "worms"? These are matters of intense debate, which is now driven by (...) concerns about two major issues in fundamental ontology: parthood and location. It is in this context that broadly empirical considerations are increasingly brought to bear on the debate about persistence. Persistence and Spacetime pursues this empirically based approach to the questions. Yuri Balashov begins by setting out major rival views of persistence -- endurance, perdurance, and exdurance -- in a spacetime framework and proceeds to investigate the implications of Einstein's theory of relativity for the debate about persistence. His overall conclusion -- that relativistic considerations favour four-dimensionalism over three-dimensionalism -- is hardly surprising. It is, however, anything but trivial. Contrary to a common misconception, there is no straightforward argument from relativity to four-dimensionalism. The issues involved are complex, and the debate is closely entangled with a number of other philosophical disputes, including those about the nature and ontology of time, parts and wholes, material constitution, causation and properties, and vagueness. (shrink)
One of the most compelling questions still unanswered in neuroscience is how consciousness arises. In this article, we examine visual processing, the parietal lobe, and contralateral neglect syndrome as a window into consciousness and how the brain functions as the mind and we introduce a mechanism for the processing of visual information and its role in consciousness. We propose that consciousness arises from integration of information from throughout the body and brain by the thalamus and that the thalamus reimages visual (...) and other sensory information from throughout the cortex in a default three-dimensional space in the mind. We further suggest that the thalamus generates a dynamic default three-dimensional space by integrating processed information from corticothalamic feedback loops, creating an infrastructure that may form the basis of our consciousness. Further experimental evidence is needed to examine and support this hypothesis, the role of the thalamus, and to further elucidate the mechanism of consciousness. (shrink)
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explain how abstract space of the State – universally and specifically within the context of Middle Eastern cities – aims to homogenise the city and eliminate any anomaly that threatens its power structure. Design/methodology/approach – Through a historical and discourse analysis of these policies and processes in the two case studies, this paper presents a contextualised reading of Lefebvre’s concept of abstract space and process of abstraction in relation to (...) the alienation of political public spaces. Findings – The paper proposes that regardless of these homogenising strategies being applied universally, they fail to respond to contextual particularities and therefore they – in a contradictory manner – may themselves produce a space of resistance and difference. Originality/value – This paper focusses on Iran, the case of Tehran and Turkey, the case of Taksim Square and Gezi Park in Istanbul. Recent policies and strategies have been proposed and implemented to reduce, alienate and possibly neutralise the impacts of urban and political protests in these cities and socio-political contexts. (shrink)
: In the first edition of his book on the completeness of Kant’s table of judgments, Klaus Reich shortly indicates that the B-version of the metaphysical exposition of space in the Critique of pure reason is structured following the inverse order of the table of categories. In this paper, I develop Reich’s claim and provide further evidence for it. My argumentation is as follows: Through analysis of our actually given representation of space as some kind of object, the (...) metaphysical exposition will show that this representation is secondary to space considered as an original, undetermined and as such unrepresentable intuitive manifold. Now, following Kant, the representation of any kind of object involves diversity, synthesis and unity. In the case of our representation of space as formal intuition, this involves, firstly, a manifold a priori, i.e. space as pure form, delivered by the transcendental Aesthetic, secondly, a figurative, productive synthesis of that manifold, and, thirdly, the unity provided by the categories. Analysing our given representation of space – the task of the metaphysical exposition – amounts to dismantling its unity and determine its characteristics with respect to the categories. (shrink)
Storrs McCall presents an original philosophical theory of the nature of the universe based on a striking new model of its space-time structure. He shows how his model illuminates a broad range of subjects, including causation, probability, quantum mechanics, identity, and free will, and argues that the fact that the model throws light on such a large number of problems constitutes strong evidence that the universe is as the model portrays it.
Frank Arntzenius presents a series of radical new ideas about the structure of space and time. Space, Time, and Stuff is an attempt to show that physics is geometry: that the fundamental structure of the physical world is purely geometrical structure. Along the way, he examines some non-standard views about the structure of spacetime and its inhabitants, including the idea that space and time are pointless, the idea that quantum mechanics is a completely local theory, the idea (...) that antiparticles are just particles travelling back in time, and the idea that time has no structure whatsoever. The main thrust of the book, however, is that there are good reasons to believe that spaces other than spacetime exist, and that it is the existence of these additional spaces that allows one to reduce all of physics to geometry. Philosophy, and metaphysics in particular, plays an important role here: the assumption that the fundamental laws of physics are simple in terms of the fundamental physical properties and relations is pivotal. Without this assumption one gets nowhere. That is to say, when trying to extract the fundamental structure of the world from theories of physics one ignores philosophy at one's peril! (shrink)
This essay offers an interpretation of Descartes’ treatment of the concepts of place and space in the Principles of Philosophy. On the basis of that interpretation, I argue that his understanding and application of the concept of space supports a pluralist interpretation of Descartes on extended substance. I survey the Scholastic evolution of issues in the Aristotelian theory of place and clarify elements of Descartes’ appropriation and transformation thereof: the relationship between internal and external place, the precise content (...) of the claim that space and body are really identical, and the way we conceptually distinguish space from body. Descartes applies his concept of space in ways that illuminate the metaphysical structure of extension. In particular, he uses the concept to specify the degree to which finite parts of matter are independent of each other. I argue that for Descartes, conceiving extension as indivisible is an artifact of conceiving it as a space. That is, pace the monistic reading of Cartesian extended substance, regarding extension as indivisible is an artifact of conceiving it in a way more removed from its real nature. (shrink)
Hume’s discussion of space, time, and mathematics at T 1.2 appeared to many earlier commentators as one of the weakest parts of his philosophy. From the point of view of pure mathematics, for example, Hume’s assumptions about the infinite may appear as crude misunderstandings of the continuum and infinite divisibility. I shall argue, on the contrary, that Hume’s views on this topic are deeply connected with his radically empiricist reliance on phenomenologically given sensory images. He insightfully shows that, working (...) within this epistemological model, we cannot attain complete certainty about the continuum but only at most about discrete quantity. Geometry, in contrast to arithmetic, cannot be a fully exact science. A number of more recent commentators have offered sympathetic interpretations of Hume’s discussion aiming to correct the older tendency to dismiss this part of the Treatise as weak and confused. Most of these commentators interpret Hume as anticipating the contemporary idea of a finite or discrete geometry. They view Hume’s conception that space is composed of simple indivisible minima as a forerunner of the conception that space is a discretely (rather than continuously) ordered set. This approach, in my view, is helpful as far as it goes, but there are several important features of Hume’s discussion that are not sufficiently appreciated. I go beyond these recent commentators by emphasizing three of Hume’s most original contributions. First, Hume’s epistemological model invokes the “confounding” of indivisible minima to explain the appearance of spatial continuity. Second, Hume’s sharp contrast between the perfect exactitude of arithmetic and the irremediable inexactitude of geometry reverses the more familiar conception of the early modern tradition in pure mathematics, according to which geometry (the science of continuous quantity) has its own standard of equality that is independent from and more exact than any corresponding standard supplied by algebra and arithmetic (the sciences of discrete quantity). Third, Hume has a developed explanation of how geometry (traditional Euclidean geometry) is nonetheless possible as an axiomatic demonstrative science possessing considerably more exactitude and certainty that the “loose judgements” of the vulgar. (shrink)
Reading, even when silent and individual, is a social phenomenon and has often been studied as such. Complementary to this view, research has begun to explore how reading is embodied beyond simply being ‘wired’ in the brain. This article brings the social and embodied perspectives together in a very literal sense. Reporting a qualitative study of reading practices across student focus groups from six European countries, it identifies an underexplored factor in reading behaviour and experience. This factor is the sheer (...) physical presence, and concurrent activity, of other people in the environment where one engages in individual silent reading. The primary goal of the study was to explore the role and possible associations of a number of variables (text type, purpose, device) in selecting generic (e.g. indoors vs outdoors) as well as specific (e.g. home vs library) reading environments. Across all six samples included in the study, participants spontaneously attested to varied, and partly surprising, forms of sensitivity to company and social space in their daily efforts to align body with mind for reading. The article reports these emergent trends and discusses their potential implications for research and practice. (shrink)
What is consciousness? Some philosophers have contended that ‘qualia’, or an experiential medium from which consciousness is derived, exists as a fundamental component of reality. Whitehead, for example, described the universe as being comprised of ‘occasions of experience’. To examine this possibility scientifically, the very nature of physical reality must be re-examined. We must come to terms with the physics of space-time -- as is described by Einstein's general theory of relativity -- and its relation to the fundamental theory (...) of matter -- as described by quantum theory. This leads us to employ a new physics of objective reduction: OR which appeals to a form of ‘quantum gravity’ to provide a useful description of fundamental processes at the quantum/classical borderline . Within the OR scheme, we consider that consciousness occurs if an appropriately organized system is able to develop and maintain quantum coherent superposition until a specific ‘objective’ criterion is reached; the coherent system then self-reduces . We contend that this type of objective self-collapse introduces non-computability, an essential feature of consciousness. OR is taken as an instantaneous event -- the climax of a self-organizing process in fundamental space-time -- and a candidate for a conscious Whitehead-like ‘occasion’ of experience. How could an OR process occur in the brain, be coupled to neural activities, and account for other features of consciousness? We nominate an OR process with the requisite characteristics to be occurring in cytoskeletal microtubules within the brain's neurons. (shrink)
I argue that space has three dimensions, and quantum mechanics does not show otherwise. Specifically, I argue that the mathematical wave function of quantum mechanics corresponds to a property that an N-particle system has in three-dimensional space.
What is the role of language in constructing knowledge? In this article, we ask whether learning new relational language can create new ways of thinking. In Experiment 1, we taught English speakers to talk about time using new vertical linguistic metaphors, saying things like “breakfast is above dinner” or “breakfast is below dinner”. In Experiment 2, rather than teaching people new metaphors, we relied on the left–right representations of time that our American college student participants have already internalized through a (...) lifetime of visuospatial experience reading and writing text from left to right. In both experiments, we asked whether the representations are susceptible to verbal interference. We found that learning new metaphors created new space–time associations that could be detected in a nonlinguistic implicit association task; these newly learned representations were not susceptible to verbal interference; and with respect to both verbal and visual interference, representations newly learned from linguistic metaphor behaved just like those on the left–right axis that our participants had acquired through years of visuospatial experience. Taken together, these results suggest that learning new relational language can be a powerful tool in constructing new representations and expanding our cognitive repertoire. (shrink)
Conspectus of part of John R. Smythies' Analysis of Perception (1956). It presents a summary of his ideas on phenomenal space – the space of one’s imagination, dreams, psychedelic experiences, somatic sensations, visions, hynagogia, etc. – and its relation to physical space.
The current technoscientific progress has led to a sectorization in the philosophy of science. Today the philosophy of science isn't is informal interested in studying old problems about the general characteristics of scientific practice. The interest of the philosopher of science is the study of concepts, problems and riddles of particular disciplines. Then, within this progress of philosophy of science, neuroscientific research stands out, because it invades issues traditionally addressed by the humanities, such as the nature of consciousness, action, knowledge, (...) normativity, etc. As a result, the new area of interdisciplinary study of neuroscience and philosophy arises: neurophilosophy. This emerging area applies neuroscientific concepts to traditional philosophical questions, limiting their responses to neuroscientific revelations about nervous systems. Neurophilosophy research focuses on problems related to the indirect nature of mind and brain, computational or representative analysis of brain process, relationships between psychological and neuroscientific research, adequate adaptations of physical and philosophical concepts in neuroscience and the place of cognitive functions. Now, the temporal representation of conscious experience and the types of the neural architecture to represent objects in time have aroused scientific interest. Under these interests, we focus on the studies on the temporary triadic structure of phenomenological consciousness in Dan Lloyd and Rick Grush. From Grush’s studies, the importance of Kantian ideas for cognitive neuroscience emerges, due to the active way in which Kant conceived space and time as forms of intuition, within which the mind interprets its experience. Under this perspective, the theoretical arguments of Dennett-Kinsbourne and Eagleman-Sejnowski represent winks in the direction of Kant-Husserl within the neuroscientific goal while considering that the contents provided by the mind included space, objects and perception of causal relationships. Then, theories of cognitive neuroscience are beginning to suggest that these elements are also, as Kant argued, interpretative elaborations provided by mind / brain, and not only content received from outside. In other words, current cognitive neuroscientific theories try to pass from its Humean phase to a Kantian phase. So, the challenge has been to explain that these elements are provided by the mind and the world itself, and how they have the content they have come from. These are lacking in current studies. Filling this gap helps to involve the analysis of the scientist’s experience in his theoretical attitude. In this sense, an investigation under the Kantian-Husserlian approach that involves pure intuitions a priori with the experience of the scientific and neuroscientific concepts represents a ground-breaking. At present, a neurophilosophical study about this does not exist. In this sense, one feasible proposal for research would be based on the application of neuroscientific results of Moser-Britt to philosophical problems of foundational notions in relativistic physics: space, time, space-time, field, etc., under the Kantian-Husserlian approach, which allows to demonstrate the multidisciplinary link between neurophilosophy and physics. This represents a ground-breaking area in current interests in scientific research, with a positive impact in the field of neuroscience, and contributing to the study of abstraction emphasizing the importance of Kant’s Copernican turn and Husserl’s phenomenological ideas in the construction of physical theories. -/- . (shrink)
In this article I intend to show the strict relation between the notions of “second nature” and “recognition”. To do so I begin with a problem (circularity) proper to the theory of Hegelian and post- Hegelian Anerkennung. The solution strategy I propose is signifi cant also in terms of bringing into focus the problems connected with a notion of “space of reasons” that stems from the Hegelian concept of “Spirit”. I thus broach the notion of “second nature” as a (...) bridgeconcept that can play a key role both for a renewal of the theory of Anerkennung and for a rethinking of the “space of reasons” within the debate between Robert Brandom and John McDowell. Against this background I illustrate the novelties introduced by the dialectical conception of the relation between fi rst and second nature developed by Hegel and the contribution this idea can make to a revisited theory of recognition as a phenomenon articulated on two levels. I then return to the question of the space of reasons to show the contribution the renewed conception of recognition as second nature makes to the definition of its intrinsic sociality as something that is not in principle opposed to a sense of naturalness. (shrink)
Kant argued that the perceptual representations of space and time were templates for the perceived spatiotemporal ordering of objects, and common to all modalities. His idea is that these perceptual representations were specific to no modality, but prior to all—they are pre-modal, so to speak. In this paper, it is argued that active perception—purposeful interactive exploration of the environment by the senses—demands premodal representations of time and space.
Space and time are the most fundamental features of our experience of the world, and yet they are also the most perplexing. Does time really flow, or is that simply an illusion? Did time have a beginning? What does it mean to say that time has a direction? Does space have boundaries, or is it infinite? Is change really possible? Could space and time exist in the absence of any objects or events? What, in the end, are (...)space and time? Do they really exist, or are they simply the constructions of our minds? Robin Le Poidevin provides a clear, witty, and stimulating introduction to these deep questions and many other mind-boggling puzzles and paradoxes. He gives a vivid sense of the difficulties raised by our ordinary ideas about space and time, but he also gives us the basis to think about these problems independently, avoiding large amounts of jargon and technicality. His book is an invitation to think philosophically rather than a sustained argument for particular conclusions, but Le Poidevin does advance and defend a number of controversial views. He argues, for example, that time does not actually flow, that it is possible for space and time to be both finite and yet be without boundaries, and that causation is the key to an understanding of one of the deepest mysteries of time: its direction. Drawing on a variety of vivid examples from science, history, and literature, Travels in Four Dimensions brings to life some of the most profound questions imaginable. (shrink)
This is a revised and updated edition of Graham Nerlich's classic book The Shape of Space. It develops a metaphysical account of space which treats it as a real and concrete entity. In particular, it shows that the shape of space plays a key explanatory role in space and spacetime theories. Arguing that geometrical explanation is very like causal explanation, Professor Nerlich prepares the ground for philosophical argument, and, using a number of novel examples, investigates how (...) different spaces would affect perception differently. This leads naturally to conventionalism as a non-realist metaphysics of space, an account which Professor Nerlich criticises, rejecting its Kantian and positivistic roots along with Reichenbach's famous claim that even the topology of space is conventional. He concludes that there is, in fact, no problem of underdetermination for this aspect of spacetime theories, and offers an extensive discussion of the relativity of motion. (shrink)
In the quantum-Bayesian approach to quantum foundations, a quantum state is viewed as an expression of an agent’s personalist Bayesian degrees of belief, or probabilities, concerning the results of measurements. These probabilities obey the usual probability rules as required by Dutch-book coherence, but quantum mechanics imposes additional constraints upon them. In this paper, we explore the question of deriving the structure of quantum-state space from a set of assumptions in the spirit of quantum Bayesianism. The starting point is the (...) representation of quantum states induced by a symmetric informationally complete measurement or SIC. In this representation, the Born rule takes the form of a particularly simple modification of the law of total probability. We show how to derive key features of quantum-state space from (i) the requirement that the Born rule arises as a simple modification of the law of total probability and (ii) a limited number of additional assumptions of a strong Bayesian flavor. (shrink)
Quality-space theory (QST) explains the nature of the mental qualities distinctive of perceptual states by appeal to their role in perceiving. QST is typically described in terms of the mental qualities that pertain to color. Here we apply QST to the olfactory modalities. Olfaction is in various respects more complex than vision, and so provides a useful test case for QST. To determine whether QST can deal with the challenges olfaction presents, we show how a quality space (QS) (...) could be constructed relying on olfactory perceptible properties and the olfactory mental qualities then defined by appeal to that QS of olfactory perceptible properties. We also consider how to delimit the olfactory QS from other modalities. We further apply QST to the role that experience plays in refining our olfactory discriminative abilities and the occurrence of olfactory mental qualities in non-conscious olfactory states. QST is shown to be fully applicable to and useful for understanding the complex domain of olfaction. (shrink)
Could space consist entirely of extended regions, without any regions shaped like points, lines, or surfaces? Peter Forrest and Frank Arntzenius have independently raised a paradox of size for space like this, drawing on a construction of Cantor’s. I present a new version of this argument and explore possible lines of response.
This essay explores the role of God’s omnipresence in Newton’s natural philosophy, with special emphasis placed on how God is related to space. Unlike Descartes’ conception, which denies the spatiality of God, or Gassendi and Charleton’s view, which regards God as completely whole in every part of space, it is argued that Newton accepts spatial extension as a basic aspect of God’s omnipresence. The historical background to Newton’s spatial ontology assumes a large part of our investigation, but with (...) attention also focused on the details of Newton’s unique approach to these traditional Scholastic conceptions. (shrink)
b>: The problem of how physical systems, such as brains, come to represent themselves as subjects in an objective world is addressed. I develop an account of the requirements for this ability that draws on and refines work in a philosophical tradition that runs from Kant through Peter Strawson to Gareth Evans. The basic idea is that the ability to represent oneself as a subject in a world whose existence is independent of oneself involves the ability to represent space, (...) and in particular, to represent oneself as one object among others in an objective spatial realm. In parallel, I provide an account of how this ability, and the mechanisms that support it, are realized neurobiologically. This aspect of the article draws on, and refines, work done in the neurobiology and psychology of egocentric and allocentric spatial representation. (shrink)
Gaining information can be modelled as a narrowing of epistemic space . Intuitively, becoming informed that such-and-such is the case rules out certain scenarios or would-be possibilities. Chalmers’s account of epistemic space treats it as a space of a priori possibility and so has trouble in dealing with the information which we intuitively feel can be gained from logical inference. I propose a more inclusive notion of epistemic space, based on Priest’s notion of open worlds yet (...) which contains only those epistemic scenarios which are not obviously impossible. Whether something is obvious is not always a determinate matter and so the resulting picture is of an epistemic space with fuzzy boundaries. (shrink)
This paper examines connections between concepts of space and extension on the one hand and immaterial spirits on the other, specifically the immanentist concept of spirits as present in rerum natura. Those holding an immanentist concept, such as Thomas Aquinas, typically understood spirits non-dimensionally as present by essence and power; and that concept was historically linked to holenmerism, the doctrine that the spirit is whole in every part. Yet as Aristotelian ideas about extension were challenged and an actual, infinite, (...) dimensional space readmitted, a dimensionalist concept of spirit became possible—that asserted by the mature Henry More, as he repudiated holenmerism. Despite More’s intentions, his dimensionalist concept opens the door to materialism, for supposing that spirits have parts outside parts implies that those parts could in principle be mapped onto the parts of divisible bodies. The specter of materialism broadens our interest in More’s unconventional ideas, for the question of whether other early modern thinkers, including Isaac Newton, followed More becomes a question of whether they too unwittingly helped usher in materialism. This paper shows that More’s attack upon holenmerism fails. He illegitimately injects his dimensionalist concept of spirit into the doctrine, failing to recognize it as a consequence of the non-dimensionalist concept of spirit, which in itself secures indivisibility. The interpretive consequence for Newton is that there is no prima facie reason to suppose that the charitable interpretation takes him to deny holenmerism. (shrink)
In a sequel to the author's argument for dualism from the lived experience of time, this paper continues the line of though initiated by in that study a bit further by considering the implications of our experience of being in space for dualism. I conclude that four-dimensionalism cannot accommodate the facts of our experience of ourselves as being in time - localized in space but not located there after the manner of a material thing. Substance dualism, however, makes (...) perfect sense of all these facts, which helps confirm the natural presumption in favor of that view. (shrink)
Newton had a fivefold argument that true motion must be motion in absolute space, not relative to matter. Like Newton, Kant holds that bodies have true motions. Unlike him, though, Kant takes all motion to be relative to matter, not to space itself. Thus, he must respond to Newton’s argument above. I reconstruct here Kant’s answer in detail. I prove that Kant addresses just one part of Newton’s case, namely, his “argument from the effects” of rotation. And, to (...) show that rotation is relative to matter, Kant changes the meaning of ‘relative motion.’ However, that change puts Kant’s doctrine in deep tension with Newton’s science. Based on my construal, I correct earlier readings of Kant by John Earman and Martin Carrier. And, I argue that we need to revise Michael Friedman’s influential view of Kant. Kant’s struggle, I conclude, illustrate the difficulties that early modern relationists faced as they turned down Newtonian absolute space ; and it typifies their selective engagement with Newton’s case for it. (shrink)
The ontology of Bohmian mechanics includes both the universal wave function and particles. Proposals for understanding the physical significance of the wave function in this theory have included the idea of regarding it as a physically-real field in its 3N-dimensional space, as well as the idea of regarding it as a law of nature. Here we introduce and explore a third possibility in which the configuration space wave function is simply eliminated—replaced by a set of single-particle pilot-wave fields (...) living in ordinary physical space. Such a re-formulation of the Bohmian pilot-wave theory can exactly reproduce the statistical predictions of ordinary quantum theory. But this comes at the rather high ontological price of introducing an infinite network of interacting potential fields which influence the particles’ motion through the pilot-wave fields. We thus introduce an alternative approach which aims at achieving empirical adequacy with a more modest ontological complexity, and provide some preliminary evidence for optimism regarding the program of trying to replace the configuration space wave function with a set of fields in ordinary physical space. (shrink)
The Global Workspace Theory and Information Integration Theory are two of the most currently accepted consciousness models; however, these models do not address many aspects of conscious experience. We compare these models to our previously proposed consciousness model in which the thalamus fills-in processed sensory information from corticothalamic feedback loops within a proposed 3D default space, resulting in the recreation of the internal and external worlds within the mind. This 3D default space is composed of all cells of (...) the body, which communicate via gap junctions and electrical potentials to create this unified space. We use 3D llustrations to explain how both visual and non-visual sensory information may be filled-in within this dynamic space, creating a unified seamless conscious experience. This neural sensory memory space is likely generated by baseline neural oscillatory activity from the default mode network, other salient networks, brainstem, and reticular activating system. (shrink)
In this chapter, I evaluate various conceptions of distance. Of the two most prominent, one takes distance relations to be intrinsic, the other extrinsic. I recommend pluralism: different conceptions can peacefully coexist as long as each holds sway over a distinct region of logical space. But when one asks which conception holds sway at the actual world, one conception stands out. It is the conception of distance embodied in differential geometry, what I call the Gaussian conception. On this conception, (...) all fundamental facts about distance are “local” facts.” But there is a problem: the Gaussian conception, notwithstanding its mathematical and physical credentials, appears metaphysically suspicious on Humean grounds. In the final section, I suggest that the Gaussian conception can be given a sound metaphysical footing in terms of non-standard analysis. (shrink)
This essay examines Hobbes’ philosophy of space, with emphasis placed on the variety of interpretations that his concept of imaginary space has elicited from commentators. The process by which the idea of space is acquired from experience, as well as the role of nominalism, will be offered as important factors in tracking down the elusive content of Hobbes’ conception of imaginary space.
Visual space can be distinguished from physical space. The first is found in visual experience, while the second is defined independently of perception. Theorists have wondered about the relation between the two. Some investigators have concluded that visual space is non-Euclidean, and that it does not have a single metric structure. Here it is argued that visual space exhibits contraction in all three dimensions with increasing distance from the observer, that experienced features of this contraction are (...) not the same as would be the experience of a perspective projection onto a fronto-parallel plane, and that such contraction is consistent with size constancy. These properties of visual space are different from those that would be predicted if spatial perception resulted from the successful solution of the inverse problem. They are consistent with the notion that optical constraints have been internalized. More generally, they are also consistent with the notion that visual spatial structures bear a resemblance relation to physical spatial structures. This notion supports a type of representational relation that is distinct from mere causal correspondence. The reticence of some philosophers and psychologists to discuss the structure of phenomenal space is diagnosed in terms of the simple materialism and the functionalism of the 1970s and 1980s. (shrink)
In this article it is shown that a careful analysis of Kant 's Gedanken von der wahren Schätzung der lebendigen Kräfte und Beurtheilung der Beweise leads to a conclusion that does not match the usually accepted interpretation of Kant 's reasoning in 1747, according to which the young Kant supposedly establishes a relationship between the tridimensionality of space and Newton's law of gravitation. Indeed, it is argued that this text does not yield a satisfactory explanation of space dimensionality, (...) and actually restricts itself to justifying the tridimensionality of extension. (shrink)
A high standard of planetary protection is important for astrobiology, though the risk for contamination can never be zero. It is therefore important to find a balance. If extraterrestrial life has a moral standing in its own right, it will also affect what we have to do to protect it. The questions of how far we need to go to protect extraterrestrial life will be even more acute and complicated when the time comes to use habitable worlds for commercial purposes. (...) There will also be conflicts between those who want to set a world aside for more research and those who want to give the green light for development. I believe it is important to be proactive in relation to these issues. The aim of my project is therefore to identify, elucidate, and if possible, suggest solutions to potential conflicts between astrobiology, planetary protection, and commercial use of space. (shrink)
The moral obligation to support space exploration follows from our obligations to protect the environment and to survive as a species. It can be justified through three related arguments: one supporting space exploration as necessary for acquiring resources, and two illustrating the need for space technology in order to combat extraterrestrial threats such as meteorite impacts. Three sorts of objections have been raised against this obligation. The first are objections alleging that supporting space exploration is impractical. (...) The second is the widely held notion that space exploration and environmentalism are at odds with one another. Finally, there are two objections to using space resources that Robert Sparrow has raised on the topic of terraforming. The obligation to support space exploration can be defended in at least three ways: (1) the "argument from resources," that space exploration is useful for amplifying our available resources; (2) the "argument from asteroids," that space exploration is necessary for protecting the environment and its inhabitants from extraterrestrial threats such as meteorite impacts; and (3) the "argument from solar burnout," that we are obligated to pursue interstellar colonization in order to ensure long-term human survival. (shrink)
I argue that there are no physical singularities in space–time. Singular space–time models do not belong to the ontology of the world, because of a simple reason: they are concepts, defective solutions of Einstein’s field equations. I discuss the actual implication of the so-called singularity theorems. In remarking the confusion and fog that emerge from the reification of singularities I hope to contribute to a better understanding of the possibilities and limits of the theory of general relativity.
This book explores the evolution of space and time from the apeiron — the spaceless, timeless chaos of primordial nature. Here Western culture’s efforts to deny apeiron are examined, and we see the critical need now to lift the repression of the apeiron for the sake of human individuation.
Embodied cognitive theories predict that linguistic conceptual representations are grounded and continually represented in real world, sensorimotor experiences. However, there is an on-going debate on whether this also holds for abstract concepts. Grammar is the archetype of abstract knowledge, and therefore constitutes a test case against embodied theories of language representation. Former studies have largely focussed on lexical-level embodied representations. In the present study we take the grounding-by-modality idea a step further by using reaction time (RT) data from the linguistic (...) processing of nominal classifiers in Chinese. We take advantage of an independent body of research, which shows that attention in hand space is biased. Specifically, objects near the hand consistently yield shorter RTs as a function of readiness for action on graspable objects within reaching space, and the same biased attention inhibits attentional disengagement. We predicted that this attention bias would equally apply to the graspable object classifier but not to the big object classifier. Chinese speakers (N = 22) judged grammatical congruency of classifier-noun combinations in two conditions: graspable object classifier and big object classifier. We found that RTs for the graspable object classifier were significantly faster in congruent combinations, and significantly slower in incongruent combinations, than the big object classifier. There was no main effect on grammatical violations, but rather an interaction effect of classifier type. Thus, we demonstrate here grammatical category- specific effects pertaining to the semantic content and by extension the visual and tactile modality of acquisition underlying the acquisition of these categories. We conclude that abstract grammatical categories are subjected to the same mechanisms as general cognitive and neurophysiological processes and may therefore be grounded. (shrink)
The primary objective of this study is to provide a description of the major ideas about void space within and beyond the world that were formulated between the fourteenth and early eighteenth centuries. The second part of the book - on infinite, extracosmic void space - is of special significance. The significance of Professor Grant's account is twofold: it provides the first comprehensive and detailed description of the scholastic Aristotelian arguments for and against the existence of void (...) class='Hi'>space; and it presents (again for the first time) an analysis of the possible influence of scholastic ideas and arguments on the interpretations of space proposed by the nonscholastic authors who made the Scientific Revolution possible. The concluding chapter of the book is unique in not only describing the conceptualizations of space proposed by the makers of the Scientific Revolution, but in assessing the role of readily available scholastic ideas on the conception of space adopted for the Newtonian world. (shrink)
This paper, which has both a historical and a polemical aspect, investigates the view, dominant throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that the sense of sight is, originally, not phenomenally three-dimensional in character, and that we must come to interpret its properly two-dimensional data by reference to the sense of 'touch'. The principal argument for this claim, due to Berkeley, is examined and found wanting. The supposedly confirming findings concerning 'Molyneux subjects' are also investigated and are shown to be either (...) irrelevant or disconfirming. Recent investigations on infant and neonatal perception are discussed and are also found to be disconfirming. An innatist version of the theory is then considered and is shown to be undermined by the largely 'Gibsonian' character of early space-perception. Finally three recent arguments in favour of the theory - two from psychologists, one from a philosopher - are considered and answered. (shrink)