Philosophical Problems of Space and Time

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Philosophical Problems of Space and Time
Philosophical Problems of Space and Time.jpg
Cover of the first edition
AuthorAdolf Grünbaum
CountryUnited States
SubjectPhilosophy of space and time
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages884 (second edition)

Philosophical Problems of Space and Time (1963; second edition 1973) is a book about the philosophy of space and time by the philosopher Adolf Grünbaum. It is recognized as a major work in the philosophy of the natural sciences.


Grünbaum discusses the philosophy of space and time, and scientific and mathematical fields such as geometry, chronometry, and geochronometry. He also provides an account of the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687) of the physicist Isaac Newton, as well as the work of other physicists such as Albert Einstein, and that of the mathematician Bernhard Riemann. He criticizes the philosophers Ernest Nagel and Jacques Maritain, arguing that in The Structure of Science (1961) Nagel misinterprets the philosopher of science Henri Poincaré and that in The Degrees of Knowledge (1932) Maritain misinterprets the nature of geometry.[1]

Publication history[edit]

Philosophical Problems of Space and Time was first published by Alfred A. Knopf in the United States in 1963. In 1964, the book was published by Routledge and Kegan Paul in the United Kingdom. In 1969, a revised version was published in Russian translation in the Soviet Union by Progress Publishers. In 1973, an enlarged section was published in English by D. Reidel Publishing Company.[2]


Robert S. Cohen and the philosopher Marx W. Wartofsky stated in the second edition of Philosophical Problems of Space and Time that the book was "promptly recognized to be one of the few major works in the philosophy of the natural sciences of this generation" upon its original publication. They believed that this was partly because Grünbaum showed devotion to both "actual science and philosophical understanding" and combined "detail with scope." They credited him with dealing with the "problems of space and time" in their "full depth and complexity".[3]

The philosopher Milič Čapek wrote in the anthology The Voices of Time (1981) that Grünbaum was, alongside the physicist Olivier Costa de Beauregard, one of the "most vigorous defenders" of the view that time should be treated as equivalent to space.[4] In Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey (1994), the philosopher Roger Scruton described Philosophical Problems of Space and Time as the most comprehensive discussion of non-Euclidean space , though he added that the work was "far from inviting".[5] In The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (2005), the philosopher Philip L. Quinn called Grünbaum's thesis about physical geometry and chronometry "striking".[6]


  1. ^ Grünbaum 1974, pp. xix, 1, 4, 8, 12, 91, 138, 148–150.
  2. ^ Grünbaum 1974, pp. iv, xvii.
  3. ^ Cohen & Wartofsky 1974, p. xiii.
  4. ^ Čapek & Fraser 1981, pp. 434–437.
  5. ^ Scruton 1997, p. 572.
  6. ^ Quinn & Honderich 2005, p. 355.