Presenting the history of space-time physics, from Newton to Einstein, as a philosophical development DiSalle reflects our increasing understanding of the connections between ideas of space and time and our physical knowledge. He suggests that philosophy's greatest impact on physics has come about, less by the influence of philosophical hypotheses, than by the philosophical analysis of concepts of space, time and motion, and the roles they play in our assumptions about physical objects and physical measurements. This way of thinking leads to interpretations of the work of Newton and Einstein and the connections between them. It also offers ways of looking at old questions about a priori knowledge, the physical interpretation of mathematics, and the nature of conceptual change. Understanding Space-Time will interest readers in philosophy, history and philosophy of science, and physics, as well as readers interested in the relations between physics and philosophy.
The essays in this volume concern the points of intersection between analytic philosophy and the philosophy of the exact sciences. More precisely, it concern connections between knowledge in mathematics and the exact sciences, on the one hand, and the conceptual foundations of knowledge in general. Its guiding idea is that, in contemporary philosophy of science, there are profound problems of theoretical interpretation-- problems that transcend both the methodological concerns of general philosophy of science, and the technical concerns of philosophers of particular sciences. A fruitful approach to these problems combines the study of scientific detail with the kind of conceptual analysis that is characteristic of the modern analytic tradition. Such an approach is shared by these contributors: some primarily known as analytic philosophers, some as philosophers of science, but all deeply aware that the problems of analysis and interpretation link these fields together.