Space, Time and the Limits of Human Understanding

Front Cover
Shyam Wuppuluri, Giancarlo Ghirardi
Springer, Dec 1, 2016 - Science - 530 pages

In this compendium of essays, some of the world’s leading thinkers discuss their conceptions of space and time, as viewed through the lens of their own discipline. With an epilogue on the limits of human understanding, this volume hosts contributions from six or more diverse fields. It presumes only rudimentary background knowledge on the part of the reader.

Time and again, through the prism of intellect, humans have tried to diffract reality into various distinct, yet seamless, atomic, yet holistic, independent, yet interrelated disciplines and have attempted to study it contextually. Philosophers debate the paradoxes, or engage in meditations, dialogues and reflections on the content and nature of space and time. Physicists, too, have been trying to mold space and time to fit their notions concerning micro- and macro-worlds. Mathematicians focus on the abstract aspects of space, time and measurement. While cognitive scientists ponder over the perceptual and experiential facets of our consciousness of space and time, computer scientists theoretically and practically try to optimize the space-time complexities in storing and retrieving data/information. The list is never-ending. Linguists, logicians, artists, evolutionary biologists, geographers etc., all are trying to weave a web of understanding around the same duo. However, our endeavour into a world of such endless imagination is restrained by intellectual dilemmas such as: Can humans comprehend everything? Are there any limits? Can finite thought fathom infinity?

We have sought far and wide among the best minds to furnish articles that provide an overview of the above topics. We hope that, through this journey, a symphony of patterns and tapestry of intuitions will emerge, providing the reader with insights into the questions: What is Space? What is Time?

Chapter [15] of this book is available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license.


 

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The pieces (~40 in all) that most grabbed me were N Salmon's unusually rigorous analysis of Wellsian time travel; N Maxwell's contention that a future probabilistic theory of quantum gravity may ... Read full review

Contents

About the Editors
1
Philosophy
2
The Transformation of the Concept of Space in the PostKantian Philosophy of Geometry
3
2 Time in Physics and Time in Awareness
15
Prephilosophical Period
22
4 Śrīharṣa on the Indefinability of Time
43
5 From Time to Time
61
6 Why Spacetime Has a Life of Its Own
76
22 Whats Wrong with the Platonic Ideal of Space and Time?
278
23 The Fundamental Problem of Dynamics
287
24 General Relativity Time and Determinism
299
25 Topos Theoretic Approach to Space and Time
313
BiologyCognitive Science
325
26 Syntactic Space
326
Human Understanding and Health Implications
337
28 The Cellular SpaceThe Space of Life
353

Husserl Sartre Derrida
87
8 Space Time and How They Matter
95
Quantum Theory and Probabilism
109
Physics
125
10 Natures Book Keeping System
126
Facing the Ultimate Judge
137
12 The Futures Not Ours to See
149
13 Hermann Weyls SpaceTime Geometry and Its Impact on Theories of Fundamental Interactions
158
A Unified Gravitational Perspective
167
15 An Anomaly in Space and Time and the Origin of Dynamics
184
16 Space Time and Adynamical Explanation in the Relational Blockworld
203
17 Spacetime Is Doomed
216
Mathematics
228
18 Geometry and Physical Space
229
19 The Geometry of Manifolds and the Perception of Space
239
20 Paradox? the Mathematics of SpaceTime and the Limits of Human Understanding
253
21 Now Has an Infinitesimal Positive Duration
271
29 The Consciousness of Space the Space of Consciousness
359
False Metaphors DeSynchronous Times and Internal Dynamics
370
31 Evolutionary Time and the Creation of the Space of Life
381
LogicComputer Science
401
32 A Computational Mathematics View of Space Time and Complexity
403
Space and Time in Charles Babbages Calculating Engines
416
34 The Black Hole in Mathematics
429
35 Gödel Incompleteness and the Empirical Sciences
443
36 Gödels Ontological Dreams
461
Miscellaneous
477
Spatiotemporal Form and Discourse in Literary Cartography
478
38 Time Space and the Human Geographies of Opportunity
487
Experiencing Immersion
502
Science Mind and Limits of Understanding
513
Authors InformationAffiliationMailing Address and Email Information
523
Titles in this Series
527
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Shyam Wuppuluri is working as a research associate for R. N. Podar institute. A computer-science graduate, he has a long-standing interest in various areas of mathematics, theoretical physics, philosophy and cognitive science.

GianCarlo Ghirardi served as the director of Theoretical physics at University of Trieste for more than two decades. He is now the President of the Consortium for Physics of the University of Trieste and Consultant and Member of the Academic Board of the ICTP, Trieste. GianCarlo made important contributions to the foundations of quantum mechanics, particularly through the GRW interpretation, proposed jointly with Rimini and Weber. He has authored many articles and books, and organized many conferences. An intellectual leader, he is a recipient of many honors, accolades and international awards.

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