Reichenbach on Space and Time

Arto Siitonen

Abstract



Reichenbach studied under Einstein’s guidance and was well qualified to cultivate
philosophical analysis of the problems of space and time. In his three books on this
topic, appeared in 1920, 1924 and 1928, he became emancipated from Kantianism and
replaced it by empiricism. He was influenced by Schlick, from whom he received the
idea of knowledge as coordination.

Reichenbach studies the philosophical consequences of relativized space and time both
systematically and historically. Important questions in this connection are how
distance and duration are measured and what these measuring procedures presuppose. He
defines time order by the concepts earlier and later, time direction by past, present
and future. In his last, unfinished book, he concentrates on the problem of
direction. He claims that the relation between past and future is objectively
asymmetric. In fact, if cosmic chronology is open-ended, individuation of occurrences
and genuine history become possible.

Keywords


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; explication of science; Kantianism

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