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