Space from Zeno to Einstein: Classic Readings with a Contemporary Commentary
MIT Press, 1999 - Science - 274 pages
Learning through original texts can be a powerful heuristic tool. This book collects a dozen classic readings that are generally accepted as the most significant contributions to the philosophy of space. The readings have been selected both on the basis of their relevance to recent debates on the nature of space and on the extent to which they carry premonitions of contemporary physics. In his detailed commentaries, Nick Huggett weaves together the readings and links them to our modern understanding of the subject. Together the readings indicate the general historical development of the concept of space, and in his commentaries Huggett explains their logical relations. He also uses our contemporary understanding of space to help clarify the key ideas of the texts. One goal is to prepare the reader (both scientist and nonscientist) to learn and understand relativity theory, the basis of our current understanding of space. The readings are by Zeno, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, Clarke, Berkeley, Kant, Mach, Poincaré, and Einstein.