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Phillip Bricker (pdf)

Robin le Poidevin

Travels in four dimensions

One might expect a book called Travels in four dimensions: The enigmas of space and time to be primarily concerned with the theory of relativity. Einstein does get a look in in Robin Le Poidevin's book, but it is more concerned with other aspects of the philosophy of time. The book is in the science section of my local library, but I feel that it is more of a philosophy book, and that the 'popular science' bits - time travel, multiple universes and the like - are the weakest parts of the book. But what it does well is to introduce the reader to philosophical ideas about time in a clear and readable way. If you've read popular science books about time, but would like to hear more about what philosophers have had to say on the subject then you should give this book a try.

The book starts by looking at whether time is anything more than things changing, and at Newton and Leibniz's ideas on absolute and relative space and time. Le Poidevin then considers the nature of the universe - the big bang, non-euclidean geometry and whether the universe is infinite. He then moves on to look at Zeno's paradoxes and McTaggart's ideas of A and B series. The last part of the book is more 'popular science' in nature (which as I have said I wasn't that impressed with), looking at time travel, parallel universes and the different arrows of time. info
Paperback 303 pages  
ISBN: 0198752555
Salesrank: 999160
Weight:0.9 lbs
Published: 2005 Oxford University Press
Amazon price $27.96
Marketplace:New from $18.35:Used from $1.99
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Paperback 294 pages  
ISBN: 0198752555
Salesrank: 847393
Weight:0.9 lbs
Published: 2005 Oxford University Press
Amazon price £21.99
Marketplace:New from £15.00:Used from £2.41
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Paperback 296 pages  
ISBN: 0198752555
Salesrank: 1101735
Weight:0.9 lbs
Published: 2004 Oxford University Press
Amazon price CDN$ 13.11
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 13.11:Used from CDN$ 15.91
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Product Description
Does time really flow, or is that simply an illusion? Did time have a beginning? What does it mean to say that time has a direction? Does space have boundaries, or is it infinite? Are our space and time unique, or could there be other, parallel worlds with their own space and time? Do space and time really exist, or are they simply the constructions of our minds?

Robin Le Poidevin provides a clear, witty, and stimulating introduction to these deep questions, and many other mind-boggling puzzles and paradoxes. He gives a vivid sense of the difficulties raised by our ordinary ideas about space and time, but he also gives us the basis to think about these problems independently, avoiding large amounts of jargon and technicality. No prior knowledge of philosophy is required to enjoy this book. The universe might seem very different after reading it.