Richard has taught at the University of Arizona since 1991. He teaches a variety of courses in philosophy of science, including philosophy of biology and physics. For descriptions of courses Prof. Healey regularly teaches, click the links on the left.

philosophy of space and time

Course Description.

This course is intended as an introduction to the philosophy of space and time. We'll focus on three main topics: the status of geometrical knowledge, the philosophical impact of relativity theory, and the nature of time. The emphasis will be on philosophical issues raised by scientific developments, though relevant historical and technical material will also be presented when necessary.

We'll begin with some central questions in the philosophy of time and space. Later in the course we'll see how much help physics is in answering them.

Euclidean geometry was long considered an example of certain knowledge. However, the mathematical discovery of non-Euclidean geometries and their subsequent employment in physics cast doubt on this view. But then what is the geometry of the world, and how can we know it? We'll consider attempts to answer these questions due to philosophers, mathematicians and scientists including Newton, Leibniz, Kant, Gauss, Poincare, Einstein and Reichenbach.

The theory of relativity made it clear that the structure of space is intimately related to that of time. We'll examine the basic framework of the theory of special relativity and assess its impact on our fundamental concepts of space and time, and look briefly also at general relativity.