Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time: Space and Time [NOOK Book]

Overview

This concise book introduces nonphysicists to the core philosophical issues surrounding the nature and structure of space and time, and is also an ideal resource for physicists interested in the conceptual foundations of space-time theory. Tim Maudlin's broad historical overview examines Aristotelian and Newtonian accounts of space and time, and traces how Galileo's conceptions of relativity and space-time led to Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. Maudlin explains special relativity with ...

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Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time: Space and Time

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Overview

This concise book introduces nonphysicists to the core philosophical issues surrounding the nature and structure of space and time, and is also an ideal resource for physicists interested in the conceptual foundations of space-time theory. Tim Maudlin's broad historical overview examines Aristotelian and Newtonian accounts of space and time, and traces how Galileo's conceptions of relativity and space-time led to Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. Maudlin explains special relativity with enough detail to solve concrete physical problems while presenting general relativity in more qualitative terms. Additional topics include the Twins Paradox, the physical aspects of the Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction, the constancy of the speed of light, time travel, the direction of time, and more.

  • Introduces nonphysicists to the philosophical foundations of space-time theory
  • Provides a broad historical overview, from Aristotle to Einstein
  • Explains special relativity geometrically, emphasizing the intrinsic structure of space-time
  • Covers the Twins Paradox, Galilean relativity, time travel, and more
  • Requires only basic algebra and no formal knowledge of physics
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2013

"Taking up the conceptual foundations of classical and modern physics, Maudlin explains in a clear manner how Einstein's special and general theories of relativity emerged from Newtonian mechanics and Galilean relativity. . . . This is a solid work that deserves careful study and rewards readers accordingly."Choice

"I would highly recommend Philosophy of Physics to anyone who wants to get a deeper historical and philosophical perspective on the nature of space and time, as well as to any physics student who has been confused by the twin paradox."—Robert M. Wald, Physics Today

"Maudlin has successfully undertaken a very difficult task: to write a book about the physical theories of space and time, accessible to every learned person with genuine interest in philosophy and the foundations of physics, with little mathematical prerequisites but without betraying the physical theories. We are really anxious to read the second volume of his work."—Chrysovalantis Stergiou, Metascience

Choice
Taking up the conceptual foundations of classical and modern physics, Maudlin explains in a clear manner how Einstein's special and general theories of relativity emerged from Newtonian mechanics and Galilean relativity. . . . This is a solid work that deserves careful study and rewards readers accordingly.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400842339
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/22/2012
  • Series: Princeton Foundations of Contemporary Philosophy
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 775,388
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Tim Maudlin is professor of philosophy at New York University. His books include The Metaphysics within Physics and Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: The Aim and Structure of These Volumes xi

Chapter One
Classical Accounts of Space and Time 1
The Birth of Physics 1
Newton's First Law and Absolute Space 4
Absolute Time and the Persistence of Absolute Space 9
The Metaphysics of Absolute Space and Time 12

Chapter Two
Evidence for Spatial and Temporal Structure 17
Newton's Second Law and the Bucket Experiment 17
Arithmetic, Geometry, and Coordinates 24
The Symmetries of Space and the Leibniz-Clarke Debate 34

Chapter Three
Eliminating Unobservable Structure 47
Absolute Velocity and Galilean Relativity 47
Galilean Space-Time 54

Chapter Four
Special Relativity 67
Special Relativity and Minkowski Space-Time 67
The Twins Paradox 77
Minkowski Straightedge, Minkowski Compass 83
Constructing Lorentz Coordinates 87

Chapter Five
The Physics of Measurement 106
The Clock Hypothesis 106
Abstract Boosts and Physical Boosts 114
The "Constancy of the Speed of Light" 120
Deeper Accounts of Physical Principles 124

Chapter Six
General Relativity 126
Curved Space and Curved Space-Time 126
Geometrizing Away Gravity 131
Black Holes and the Big Bang 140
The Hole Argument 146
Suggested Readings on General Relativity 152

Chapter Seven
The Direction and Topology of Time 153
The Geometry of Time 153
Time Travel as a Technical Problem 162
The Direction of Time 165

Appendix: Some Problems in Special Relativistic Physics 171
References 177
Index 181

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