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Graham Nerlich: The Shape of Space

  • C.A. Hooker (a1)

Space (better: space-time) is a particular, the particular thing structuring our world. It has shape. And size. And reference to space and its properties is fundamental to physical explanation. This, in a nutshell, is Nerlich's position. Espousing it Nerlich marches against the tide of philosophical opinion which dominated the first half or more of this century.

His arguments are laid out in a wholly enjoyable book: clearly and simply written, ‘meaty’ in argument and lucid in explanation. The book does not have the same technical scope in theoretical physics as do its relevant companions (e.g., Earman et al. [2], Grunbaum [3], Sklar [16], Winnie [18]). Rather, the book is a sustained argument aimed at establishing the theses with which I began and its content has been selected accordingly. But the clarity of presentation and consistency of argument recommend it as a major contribution to the field. It is especially to be recommended to the non-technical philosopher. And there is another important reason for commending it: much of the argumentation of the book is not to be found elsewhere, it fills an important gap in the field. I need hardly add that I find myself in sympathy with Nerlich's position.

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[1]Abraham R., Marsden J., Foundations of Mechanics, New York: Benjamin, revised edition, 1978.
[2]Earman J., Glymour C., & Stachel J., (eds) Foundations of Space-Time Theories, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science Vol. 8. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977.
[3]Grunbaum A., Philosophical Problems of Space and Time, 2nd edition, Dordrecht: Reidel, 1973.
[4]Helgason S., Differential Geometry and Symmetric Spaces, New York: Academic Press, 1962.
[5]Hicks N.J., Notes on Differential Geometry, Princeton, New Jersey: van Nostrand, 1965.
[6]Hooker C.A., “Definite Description: and the Elimination of Singular Terms”, the Journal of Philosophy, LXVII, (1970), 951961.
[7]Hooker C.A., “The Relational Doctrines of Space and Time”, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 22 (1971), 97130.
[8]Hooker C.A., “Physics and Metaphysics: A Prolegomnon for the Riddles of Quantum Theory”, Hooker C. A. (ed.) Contemporary Research in the Foundations and Philosophy of Quantum Theory, Dordrecht: Reidel, 1973.
[9]Hooker C.A., “Defense of a Non-conventional Status for Classical Mechanics”, The Boston Colloquium in the Philosophy of Science, A (1969/1971), Vol. XIII, Dordrecht: Reidel, 1974.
[10]Hooker C.A., “The Metaphysics of Science: Atoms versus Plena”, International Logic Review 9,(1974), 111146.
[11]Hooker C.A., “Remarks on the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles”, The Southwestern Journal of Philosophy, VI (1975), 129153.
[12]Hooker C.A., (ed.) The Logico-Algebraic Approach to Quantum Mechanics, 2 volumes Dordrecht, Holland: Reidel, 1975, 1979.
[13]Hooker C.A., (ed.). Physical Theory as Logico-Operational Structure, Holland, Reidel, 1978.
[14]LeClerc I., The Nature of Physical Existence, London: Muirhead, 1972.
[15]Misner C., Thorn K., and Wheeler J., Gravitation, San Francisco: Freeman, 1973
[16]Sklar L., Space, Time and Spacetime, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1974.
[17]Vaisman I., Cohomology and Differential Forms, New York: Dekker, 1973.
[18]Winnie J. (ed.) Symposium on Space and Time, A special issue of Nous XI (1977), #3.
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Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie
  • ISSN: 0012-2173
  • EISSN: 1759-0949
  • URL: /core/journals/dialogue-canadian-philosophical-review-revue-canadienne-de-philosophie
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