A Few Philosophical Works On Space-Time Reviewed At Notre-Dame

Carl Hoefer reviews Robert DiSalle’s Understanding Space-Time: The Philosophical Development of Physics from Newton to Einstein here, and Bradford Skow reviews Harvey Brown’s Physical Relativity: Space-time Structure from a Dynamical Perspective here.

DiSalle’s goals are very ambitious, and in broad terms they are threefold. He wants to (1) direct philosophers away from the canonical absolute/relational disputes, (2) reshape our understanding of the motivations, arguments, and achievements of the two giants of space-time physics (Newton and Einstein), and (3) refute, in passing, the Kuhnian view that the main paradigm changes in space-time physics are essentially arational and impossible to justify via non-circular arguments.

Newton’s and Einstein’s theories are:

“…frameworks established ‘for the interpretation of phenomena, not a kind of mechanism or hypothesis to explain them’

The framework of a framework?

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