Contemporary debates in philosophy of science

Speaker: Tim Maudlin (New York University)

Title: Topology and the Structure of Space-Time

Abstract: Physics uses mathematical representations of physical structures, and so is influenced by the choice of mathematical language. Space-time is described by a geometry with several levels of structure. The most basic level, which specifies the continuity of space-time, is called the topological structure. Standard topology, in turn, is founded on the concept of an open set.

I will present a new alternative mathematical language called the Theory of Linear Structures. This new language provides different definitions of these same geometrical features, such as the connectedness of a space and the continuity of a function When the Theory of Relativity is expressed in this new mathematical language it appears somewhat differently than in the standard presentations. In particular, instead of “spatializing time” or making time “just another dimension”, the Theory of Relativity allows us to reduce all physical geometry to temporal structure.


The seminars are organised by the philosophy of science research group. For more information or to find out about future events, please contact Dr Alistair Isaac.

Dr Alistair Isaac

Philosophy of science research group

Mar 16 2017 -

Contemporary debates in philosophy of science

16 Mar 2017: Topology and the Structure of Space-Time

Room 1.17, Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AD