2.50 Space and Time

Category: Philosophy of Science

Keywords: inertial, lorentz, relativity, simultaneity, frame, spacetime, einstein, velocity, relativistic, gauge, earman, transformations, metric, newtonian, symmetry

Number of Articles: 450
Percentage of Total: 1.4%
Rank: 17th

Weighted Number of Articles: 336.4
Percentage of Total: 1%
Rank: 39th

Mean Publication Year: 1978.7
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1977.6
Median Publication Year: 1979
Modal Publication Year: 1977

Topic with Most Overlap: Quantum Physics (0.0393)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: Quantum Physics (0.034)
Topic with Least Overlap: Emotions (0.00015)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Feminism (0.00017)

A scatterplot showing which proportion of articles each year are in the space and timetopic. The x-axis shows the year, the y-axis measures the proportion of articles each year in this topic. There is one dot per year. The highest value is in 1930 when 3.4% of articles were in this topic. The lowest value is in 1891 when 0.0% of articles were in this topic. The full table that provides the data for this graph is available in Table A.50 in Appendix A.

Figure 2.119: Space and time.

A set of twelve scatterplots showing the proportion of articles in each journal in each year that are in the Space and Timetopic. There is one scatterplot for each of the twelve journals that are the focus of this book. In each scatterplot, the x-axis is the year, and the y-axis is the proportion of articles in that year in that journal in this topic. Here are the average values for each of the twelve scatterplots - these tell you on average how much of the journal is dedicated to this topic. Mind - 0.4%. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society - 0.3%. Ethics - 0.1%. Philosophical Review - 0.4%. Analysis - 0.3%. Philosophy and Public Affairs - 0.0%. Journal of Philosophy - 0.9%. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research - 0.2%. Philosophy of Science - 3.5%. Noûs - 0.8%. The Philosophical Quarterly - 0.2%. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science - 6.2%. The topic reaches its zenith in year 1977 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 2.9% of the articles. And it hits a minimum in year 1891 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 0.0% of the articles.

Figure 2.120: Space and time articles in each journal.

Table 2.119: Characteristic articles of the space and time topic.
Table 2.120: Highly cited articles in the space and time topic.


This differs from the earlier topic on classical space and time in two respects.

  1. It is primarily about relativistic, as opposed to classical, physics.
  2. It is very much philosophy of science, as opposed to metaphysics. This shows up in the characteristic articles, which are all in philosophy of science journals.

Much to my surprise, this topic featured some of the articles the model was most confident about. There are six articles that the model gives a probability greater than 0.9 of being in this topic. No other topic features more than four such articles; and only four other topics feature more than two. This was surprising given how much overlap this topic has with classical space and time. But it turns out that the language philosophers of physics use to talk about space and time is (or more importantly was) rather different from the language metaphysicians use. And that was enough for the model to tell them apart.