Relativity and the Problem of Space (Part 5)



NOTE: Einstein’s statements are in italics. My understanding follows in bold.

“We still have something essential to add to this sketch concerning the psychological origin of the concepts space-time-event (we will call them more briefly “space-like”, in contrast to concepts from the psychological sphere). We have linked up the concept of space with experiences using boxes and the arrangement of material objects in them. Thus this formation of concepts already presupposes the concept of material objects (e.g. ”boxes”). In the same way persons, who had to be introduced for the formation of an objective concept of time, also play the rôle of material objects in this connection. It appears to me, therefore, that the formation of the concept of the material object must precede our concepts of time and space.” ~ Albert Einstein


Space is the background of objects. Time is the background of changes in objects. Changes are not independent of objects. Therefore, time is not absolute in itself but it is an aspect of space. We represent this as a four-dimensional continuum of “space-time”.

Objects are both material and conceptual. We use logical consistency as a gradient to form concepts out of material objects. Material and conceptual objects, therefore, appear as gradient of logical abstraction.

Thus we have a “dimension of abstraction” that starts from concrete and extends into abstraction. The key characteristic of this dimension is logical consistency. Abstraction is not independent of objects, therefore, it is also an aspect of space.  We may present this as a five dimensional continuum of space-time-abstraction.

Hopefully this would take care of the psychological origin.

Previous: Relativity and the Problem of Space (Part 4)
Next:  Relativity and the Problem of Space (Part 6)


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