Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 311–315 | Cite as

Francesca Biagioli: Space, Number, and Geometry from Helmholtz to Cassirer

Springer, Dordrecht, 2016, 239 pp, $109.99 (Hardcover), ISBN: 978-3-319-31777-9
  • Lydia PattonEmail author
Book review

There is a new energy in the study of the history and philosophy of nineteenth and twentieth century mathematics and physics. Pioneering work from Alberto Coffa, Alan Richardson, Michael Friedman, Don Howard, Gary Hatfield, Janet Folina, Michael Heidelberger, Thomas Ryckman, and kindred thinkers in the 1990s and early 2000s inspired many to take up research on the complex relations between neo-Kantianism, logical empiricism, physiology of perception, epistemology, group theory and geometry, and relativity theory.1 Francesca Biagioli has been working in these fields for some time, and Space, Time, and Geometry further establishes her reputation as one of the strongest researchers in this area.

Space, Time, and Geometryavoids merely telling the history of relativity theory. Instead, the work is oriented around the careers of a scientist, Hermann von Helmholtz, and a philosopher, Ernst Cassirer. That focus allows Biagioli to delve into what mattered to scientists, mathematicians, and...



  1. Biagioli, F. (2014). What does it mean that “Space can be transcendental without the axioms being so”? Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 45(1), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Biagioli, F. (2018). Articulating space in terms of transformation groups: Helmholtz and Cassirer. Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy, 6(3), 115–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dedekind, R. (1872). Stetigkeit und irrationale Zahlen. Braunschweig: Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn.Google Scholar
  4. Dedekind, R. (1963). Continuity and irrational numbers. In W. W. Beman (Trans.), Essays on the theory of numbers (pp. 1–30). New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  5. Halsted, G. (1899). Report on progress in non-Euclidean geometry. The American Mathematical Monthly, 6(10), 219–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Neuber, M. (2018). Perception and coincidence in Helmholtz’s theory of measurement. Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy, 6(3), 79–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

Personalised recommendations