Space, Time and the Limits of Human Understanding

  • Shyam Wuppuluri
  • Giancarlo Ghirardi

Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Philosophy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. E. C. G. Sudarshan
      Pages 15-21
    3. Nataliya Yanchevskaya, Michael Witzel
      Pages 23-41
    4. Jonathan Duquette, Krishnamurti Ramasubramanian
      Pages 43-60
    5. Nathan Salmon
      Pages 61-75
    6. James Robert Brown
      Pages 77-86
    7. Valia Allori
      Pages 95-107
  3. Physics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 125-125
    2. Gerard ’t Hooft
      Pages 127-135
    3. Vesselin Petkov
      Pages 137-148
    4. Anthony Sudbery
      Pages 149-157
    5. Joan A. Vaccaro
      Pages 185-201 Open Access
    6. W. M. Stuckey, Michael Silberstein, Timothy McDevitt
      Pages 203-215
    7. George Musser
      Pages 217-227
  4. Mathematics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 229-229
    2. Mary Leng
      Pages 231-237
    3. Raymond O. Wells Jr.
      Pages 239-252
    4. Julian Barbour
      Pages 287-298
    5. James Isenberg
      Pages 299-311
    6. Goro C. Kato
      Pages 313-324
  5. Biology/Cognitive Science

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 325-325
    2. Rajesh Kasturirangan
      Pages 327-335
    3. Lakshman Abhilash, Vijay Kumar Sharma
      Pages 337-352
    4. Pier Luigi Luisi
      Pages 353-358
    5. Mauro Bergonzi, Pier Luigi Luisi
      Pages 359-369
  6. Logic/Computer Science

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 401-401
    2. David H. Bailey, Jonathan M. Borwein
      Pages 403-415
    3. Alexander Keewatin Dewdney
      Pages 429-442
    4. N. C. A. da Costa, F. A. Doria
      Pages 443-460
    5. Gary Mar
      Pages 461-476
  7. Miscellaneous

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 477-477
    2. Diana J. Reichenbach
      Pages 503-512
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 513-530

About this book


In this compendium of essays, some of the world’s leading thinkers discuss their conceptions of space and time, as viewed through the lens of their own discipline. With an epilogue on the limits of human understanding, this volume hosts contributions from six or more diverse fields. It presumes only rudimentary background knowledge on the part of the reader.

Time and again, through the prism of intellect, humans have tried to diffract reality into various distinct, yet seamless, atomic, yet holistic, independent, yet interrelated disciplines and have attempted to study it contextually. Philosophers debate the paradoxes, or engage in meditations, dialogues and reflections on the content and nature of space and time. Physicists, too, have been trying to mold space and time to fit their notions concerning micro- and macro-worlds. Mathematicians focus on the abstract aspects of space, time and measurement. While cognitive scientists ponder over the perceptual and experiential facets of our consciousness of space and time, computer scientists theoretically and practically try to optimize the space-time complexities in storing and retrieving data/information. The list is never-ending. Linguists, logicians, artists, evolutionary biologists, geographers etc., all are trying to weave a web of understanding around the same duo. However, our endeavour into a world of such endless imagination is restrained by intellectual dilemmas such as: Can humans comprehend everything? Are there any limits? Can finite thought fathom infinity?

We have sought far and wide among the best minds to furnish articles that provide an overview of the above topics. We hope that, through this journey, a symphony of patterns and tapestry of intuitions will emerge, providing the reader with insights into the questions: What is Space? What is Time?

Chapter [15] of this book is available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license. 


Understanding space and time Ontology and epistemology of space, time and spacetime Historical conceptions of space and tiime Modern scientific conception of spacetime Space and time from interdisciplinary viewpoints Limits of scientific knowledge Human understanding of the universe Philosophical essays on understanding

Editors and affiliations

  • Shyam Wuppuluri
    • 1
  • Giancarlo Ghirardi
    • 2
  1. 1.Podar Educational ComplexR. N. Podar (CBSE) Podar Educational ComplexMumbaiIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Theoretical PhysicsAbdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical PhysicsTriesteItaly

Bibliographic information