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Space and Time in Physics and Metaphysics

lecture course
Thursday 18:00 - 19:30  Room 221 (Múzeum krt. 4./i)
(The lectures will  be given in English. The exam can be taken in English or Hungarian.)

First lecture: February 11


  • Conventionalism, semantic convention, operationalism, constitutive a priori
  • Absolute vs. relative conceptions and objectivity
  • Early 20th century definitions of distance and time - Lorentz vs. Einstein
  • The proper understanding of the relativity principle - the lesson from Gallileo
  • Reconstruction of the Lorentzian and the Einsteinan theories
  • Problems with the standard definitions of distance and time - logical and operational circularities
  • The precise empirical definitions of basic spatio-temporal conceptions
  • Relativity to what?
  • Spacetime, determinism, objective becoming
  • Spacetime and existence: presentism vs. eternalism, endurance vs. perdurance
  • Spacetime and causality
  • Spacetime and irreversibility
  • Why just time?

Video records and the slides of the lectures will be available.

Preliminary list of suggested readings (the final list will be announced soon):
  • L. E. Szabó: Empirical Foundation of Space and Time, in M. Suárez, M. Dorato and M. Rédei (eds.), EPSA07: Launch of the European Philosophy of Science Association, Springer 2009. [PDF]
  • J. M. E. McTaggart: The Unreality of Time, in: The Philosophy of Time (Oxford Readings in Philosophy), R. Le Poidevin, M. MacBeath (eds.), Oxford University Press, 1993. (Eredeti mű: The Nature of Existence, 33. fejezet, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1927.) 
  • H. Reichenbach: The Theory of Relativity and A Priori Knowledge, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1965.
  • L. E. Szabó: On the meaning of Lorentz covariance, Foundations of Physics Letters 17 (2004) pp. 479 - 496 [preprint: PDF
  • E. Szabó László: A nyitott jövő problémája - véletlen, kauzalitás és determinizmus a fizikában, Typotex Könyvkiadó, Budapest, 2002. (A könyv javított digitális kiadása PDF formában letölthető innen.)
  • Balázs László Kristóf és E. Szabó László: "Semmiben nem nyújt új vagy más leírást a térről és az időről" -- beszélgetés a relativitáselméletről, Beszélő, 2004. január, 75.-88. old.
  • H. Reichenbach: The philosophy of space and time, Dover Publications, New York, 1958.
  • M. Friedman: Foundations of Space-Time Theories -- Relativistic Physics and Philosophy of Science, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1983.
  • J. S. Bell: How to teach special relativity, in Speakable and unspeakable in quantum mechanics, Cambridge University Press, 1987.
  • A. Einstein, Relativity: The Special and General Theory
  • A. Einstein: A speciális és általános relativitás elmélete, Kossuth, 1993.
  • L. E. Szabó: Lorentzian theories vs. Einsteinian special relativity -- a logico-empiricist reconstruction, in A. Maté, M. Rédei and F. Stadler (eds.), Vienna Circle and Hungary -- Veröffentlichungen des Instituts Wiener Kreis,  Springer 2011. [PDF]
  • L. E. Szabó: Does special relativity theory tell us anything new about space and time? [PDF] (Prolog)



Videos and slides

  TTK-s és IK-s BSc hallgatók!

Filozófia minor

TTK-s és IK-s BSc hallgatók!
Logika és tudományelmélet MA szak

A fizika filozófiája
A matematika filozófiája

Master's in Logic and Theory of Science

(in English)

The program focuses on logic and its applications in the philosophy of science, particularly in the foundations of mathematics, physics, linguistics and the social sciences. Beyond a few core courses and a joint four-semester seminar series aimed at providing a common background to all students, we offer the following four modules:
  • Logic and the Philosophy of Mathematics
  • Philosophy of Physics
  • Logic in Linguistics
  • Models in the Social Sciences

Students have to select one of these modules based on their personal field of interest.

>>> Further details

Salmon Kant

Lewis Reichenbach
Friedman Van Fraassen
Belnap Einstein
Earman Poincaré
Quine Lorentz