Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Concepts of space and time in philosophy and natural science of the 18th and 19th centuries

Concepts of space and time in philosophy and natural science of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Materialist philosophers of the 18th and 19th centuries solved P.'s problem and V. mostly in the spirit of Newton's or Leibniz's concepts, although, as a rule, they did not fully accept any of them. Most materialist philosophers opposed Newton's empty space. Even J. Toland pointed out that the concept of emptiness is associated with the view of matter as inert, inactive. D. Diderot adhered to the same viewsG. Hegel was closer to Leibniz's conceptIn the concepts of subjective idealists and agnostics, the problem of P. and V. were reduced mainly to the question of the relation of P. and century. to consciousness, perception. J. Berkeleyrejected Newton's absolute P. and V., but considered spatial and temporal relations subjectively, as the order of perception; he did not even speak of objective geometric and mechanical laws. Therefore, the Berkeleian point of view did not play a significant role in the development of scientific ideas about P. and V. The situation was different from the views of I. Kantwhich at first adjoined Leibniz's concept. The contradiction between these ideas and the natural science views of that time led Kant to accept the Newtonian concept and to strive to philosophically substantiate it. The main thing here was the announcement of P. and V. a priori forms of human contemplation, that is, the justification of their absolutization. Kant's views on P. and V. found many supporters in the late 18th - 1st half of the 19th centuries. Their inconsistency was proved only after the creation and adoption of non-Euclidean geometry, which essentially contradicted Newton's understanding of space. Rejecting it, NI Lobachevsky and B. Riemann argued that the geometric properties of space, being the most general physical properties, are determined by the general nature of the forces that form bodies.

  The views of dialectical materialism in P. and V. were formulated by F. Engels. According to Engels, to be in space means to be in the form of one near the other; to exist in time means to be in the form of a sequence of one after the other. Engels emphasized that “... both these forms of existence of matter without matter are nothing, empty representations, abstractions that exist only in our head” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., Vol. 20, p. . 550).

  The crisis of mechanistic natural science at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. led to the revival, on a new basis, of subjectivist views on P. and V. Criticizing Newton's concept and correctly noting its weaknesses, E. Mach again developed a view of P. and V. as an "order of perception", emphasizing the experimental origin of the axioms of geometry. But Mach understood experience subjectively, therefore, both the geometry of Euclid and the geometries of Lobachevsky and Riemann were considered by him as different ways of describing the same spatial relations. Criticism of Mach's subjectivist views on P. and V. was given by VI Lenin in the book "Materialism and Emporio-Criticism".


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