At the end of the course, you will:
- be familiar with the main concepts of space and time in ancient, medieval and early modern philosophy;
- be able to place these concepts in their historical context;
- be able to analyse the epistemological, metaphysical, political and ethical issues connected with space and time.
The Philosophy of Space and Time|
At least since Newton and Kant, 'space' and 'time' are seen as a conceptual pair that plays a foundational role in philosophy of nature. In this course we will follow the protracted history of how this conceptual pairing came about. We will start with Plato and Aristotle (who neither speaks of 'space' and 'time' nor sees these concepts as a conceptual pair). Then, we will have a look at the sometimes bizarre but fascinating thought experiments that medieval philosophers designed with respect to space and time. In a next step, we will look at renaissance and early modern concepts, put forward by philosophers such as Bruno, Gassendi, Hobbes, Leibniz, and Locke. We will end with an in-depth discussion of the Leibniz-Clarke correspondence and with the Kantian synthesis on these matters. We will see that the concepts of space and time are in many respects foundational: they involve issues of an epistemological, metaphysical, and sometimes even ethical and political nature.