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David Hyder – Kant and Einstein on the Causal Order of Time

December 23, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

McGill Philosophy Department Colloquium Series,

Friday, 27 January 2017,

Time and Location: 3:30 p.m., Leacock 927


David Hyder, Université d’Ottawa

Kant and Einstein on the Causal Order of Time


Abstract: The theory of space-time developed in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and his (1786) Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science is connected to the “Kinematic Part” of Einstein’s 1905 “Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper” via Leonhard Euler’s proof of invariance under Galilean transformations in the latter’s 1736 Analytical Mechanics.

The internal connection between the two space-time structures is that outlined in Minkowski’s 1905 “Das Relativitätsprinzip”, meaning in turn that the Critique of Pure Reason’s 2nd Analogy of Experience is the dual of the Principle of Locality applied in the various Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiments. Thus Kant’s 3rd Analogy of Experience, which defines simultaneity through instantaneous causal interactions (e.g. gravitation), should fall.

I conclude by (1) assessing the significance of entanglement relations from the point of view of this “Berlin” physical tradition, (2) explaining the connection of these two theories of time to the emergence of existential phenomenology, in Göttingen, through the work of Husserl, Einstein, and their colleague, the mathematician and physicist Hermann Weyl.

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