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Space Time and Einstein by Kennedy


Book Details :
Language English
Pages 255
Format PDF
Size 4 MB

Space Time and Einstein Contents


Part I: Einstein’s revolution 
  • From Aristotle to Hiroshima
  • Einstein in a nutshell 
  • The twin paradox 
  • How to build an atomic bomb
  • The four-dimensional universe 
  • Time travel is possible 
  • Can the mind understand the world?
Part II: Philosophical progress
  • Who invented the space?
  • Zeno’s paradoxes: is motion impossible? 
  • Philosophers at war: Newton vs. Leibniz 
  • The philosophy of left and right 
  • The unreality of time 
  • General relativity: is space curved? 
  • The fall of geometry: is mathematics certain?
  • The resurrection of absolutes 
  • The resilience of space 
Part III: Frontiers
  • Faster than light: was Einstein wrong?
  • The Big Bang: how did the universe begin? 
  • Black holes: trapdoors to nowhere 
  • Why haven’t aliens come visiting? 
  • The inflationary and accelerating universe 
  • Should we believe the physicists?

Preface to Space Time and Einstein PDF


The ongoing revolution in our understanding of space and time is so central to the drama of our times that no educated person can remain ignorant of it.
There is no better illustration of the adventure of ideas, nor the power and practical importance of abstract thought. Introductory texts should be brief, easy to read and seductive.
This text aims to be the clearest philosophical introduction to relativity theory available. It exposes the philosophical heart of issues without jargon, mathematics or logical formulas. Our patron saint is lucidity.
It is aimed at those without a background in science, mathematics or philosophy. The hope is to provide thoughtful readers with a sense of where we have come from and where we are going, and thus to offer an invitation to further studies.
This book is a threefold invitation to the philosophy of space and time. It introduces – gently and simply – the new, revolutionary ideas of Einstein.
It introduces the concepts and arguments of philosophers, both ancient and modern, which have proved of lasting value. Finally, it introduces the most recent discoveries and the debates raging now, in philosophy and physics, and points out how future developments may unfold.
The text does aim to teach one skill. Careful thinking is at the core of our conception of philosophy.
Now that many nations have reorganized themselves as democracies, which depend so much on reasoned debate and persuasion, careful thinking has become a foundation of our social and political lives as well. But clear thinking is an art: it requires patience, practice, and cultivation.
This text does not teach or use formal logic, but it pays great attention to the careful analysis and interpretation of ideas. It slows down to dissect momentous claims and seeks out the hidden assumptions underlying the great arguments of the past.
It aims throughout to show how the analysis of arguments deepens our appreciation of philosophy and points the way towards future progress.
This is a conservative text in the sense that it covers the standard topics, outlines mainstream debates and introduces the views of some leading contemporary philosophers.
Unusually, from the outset, it emphasizes the controversy between Einstein and Lorentz over the interpretation of relativity (following essays by J. S.
Bell and the more mathematical text by D. Bohm), which is now again a hot topic of debate. For accessibility, I have edited the quotations to conform to a uniform terminology, ruthlessly preferred concrete over technical terms (e.g. “rulers and clocks” rather than “reference frames”) and postponed all spacetime diagrams to an appendix.
In general, I have favored bold, plausible claims and used the guide for further reading in Appendix E to point toward more advanced and nuanced literature.
This approach has worked well in courses I have taught at Stanford University and the University of Notre Dame in the US and the University of Manchester in the UK.
There was no room for chapters on debates over space and time in the feminist philosophy of science and in art history, but some references to these are included in the guide to further reading in Appendix E.
I would like to thank the historian's John Pickstone, Jon Agar and Jeff Hughes, and the philosopher's Harry Lesser and Thomas Uebel for making me feel so very welcome at the University of Manchester
John Shand for his encouragement and friendship; Ian Peek, Michael Rush, and Gloria Ayob for their help; reviewers for their excellent suggestions which have helped strengthen and clarify the text; E. Donegan for starting things off;
Nancy Cartwright for all she has done; my teachers Peter Galison, Patrick Suppes, Tim Lenoir, Wilbur Knorr, and Arthur Fine; my colleagues Ernan McMullin, Jim Cushing, and Don Howard; my friends and students at Stanford, Notre Dame, and Manchester; Louise for her infinite support and Lily for her smiles.
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