Space and time are the most fundamental features of our experience of the world, and yet they are also the most perplexing. Does time really flow, or is that simply an illusion? Did time have a beginning? What does it mean to say that time has a direction? Does space have boundaries, or is it infinite? Is change really possible? Could space and time exist in the absence of any objects or events? Are our space and time unique, or could there be other, parallel worlds with their own space and time? What, in the end, are space and time? Do they really exist, or are they simply the constructions of our minds? Robin Le Poidevin provides a clear, witty, and stimulating introduction to these deep questions, and many other mind-boggling puzzles and paradoxes. He gives a vivid sense of the difficulties raised by our ordinary ideas about space and time, but he also gives us the basis to think about these problems independently, avoiding large amounts of jargon and technicality. His book is an invitation to think philosophically rather than a sustained argument for particular conclusions, but Le Poidevin does advance and defend a number of controversial views.
He argues, for example, that time does not actually flow, that it is possible for space and time to be both finite and yet be without boundaries, and that causation is the key to an understanding of one of the deepest mysteries of time: its direction. Travels in Four Dimensions draws on a variety of vivid examples and stories from science, history, and literature to bring its questions to life. No prior knowledge of philosophy is required to enjoy this book. The universe might seem very different after reading it.
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(203mm x 134mm x 17mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
With Royal Society Professor of astronomy, Sir Martin Rees, making waves in the press with his claim that life, the universe and everything may, after all, be little more than a complex computer programme, Poidevin's book on time and space is more topical than ever. Poidevin asks few questions that haven't been looked at since Aristotle. The strength of his book lies in a clear, lucid style that makes easy reading of what must be the hardest notions in philosophy and physics: do we exist, is time-travel possible? How can we ever know anything for certain? The nature of time and space, indeed, the very fabric of reality are now being examined as never before. Poidevin cannot offer conclusive answers regarding reality, his book however, ensures that when it comes to discussing areas of physics few scientists really clearly understand you'll be able to do so knowledgeably and with aplomb. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Robin Le Poidevin
Robin Le Poidevin is Professor of Metaphysics at the University of Leeds.