Space, Time and the Limits of Human Understanding

Springer has just published the book Space, Time and the Limits of Human Understanding. The book consists of 39 chapters, each written by a leading figure in one of the six general areas covered in the volume (philosophy, physics, mathematics, biology and cognitive science, logic and computer science, and miscellaneous). The present author has an article, co-authored with the late Jonathan Borwein, entitled “A computational mathematics view of space, time and complexity.” The book is targeted to a technical reader, but a first-year college calculus and physics background suffices for at least 90% of the material.

Here is a sample of some of the many chapters that may be of interest to readers of this blog (chapter numbers are shown in brackets):

  • [1] Francesca Biagioli, “Space as a source and as an object of knowledge”
  • [9] Nicholas Maxwell, “Relativity theory may not have the last word on the nature of time: Quantum theory and probabilism”
  • [10] Gerard ‘t Hooft, “Nature’s bookkeeping system”
  • [13] Norbert Straumann, “Hermann Weyl’s space-time geometry and its impact on theories of fundamental interactions”
  • [15] Joan A. Vaccaro, “An anomaly in space and time and the origin of dynamics”
  • [18] Mary Leng, “Geometry and physical space”
  • [20] Paul Ernest, “Paradox? The mathematics of space-time and the limits of human understanding”
  • [21] Reuben Hersh, “‘Now’ has an infinitesimal positive duration”
  • [23] Julian Barbour, “The fundamental problem of dynamics”
  • [24] James Isenberg, “General relativity, time and determinism”
  • [31] Randall E. Auxier, “Evolutionary time and the creation of the space of life”
  • [32] David H. Bailey and Jonathan M. Borwein, “A computational mathematics view of space, time and complexity”
  • [35] Alexander K. Dewdney, “Godel incompleteness and the empirical sciences”
  • [Afterword] Noam Chomsky, “Science, mind and limits of understanding”

The volume is available from Springer both in hardback and also as an e-book.

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