Historical Epistemology of Space

From Primate Cognition to Spacetime Physics

  • Matthias Schemmel

Part of the SpringerBriefs in History of Science and Technology book series (BRIEFSHIST)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Matthias Schemmel
    Pages 9-20
  3. Matthias Schemmel
    Pages 21-31
  4. Matthias Schemmel
    Pages 33-41
  5. Matthias Schemmel
    Pages 89-105
  6. Matthias Schemmel
    Pages 107-112
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 113-117

About this book


This monograph investigates the development of human spatial knowledge by analyzing its elementary structures and studying how it is further shaped by various societal conditions. By taking a thoroughly historical perspective on knowledge and integrating results from various disciplines, this work throws new light on long-standing problems in epistemology such as the relation between experience and preformed structures of cognition.

What do the orientation of apes and the theory of relativity have to do with each other? Readers will learn how different forms of spatial thinking are related in a long-term history of knowledge. Scientific concepts of space such as Newton’s absolute space or Einstein’s curved spacetime are shown to be rooted in pre-scientific structures of knowledge, while at the same time enabling the integration of an ever expanding corpus of experiential knowledge. 

This work addresses all readers interested in questions of epistemology, in particular philosophers and historians of science. It integrates forms of spatial knowledge from disciplines including anthropology, developmental psychology and cognitive sciences, amongst others.


Cognition Developmental psychology Evolutionary epistemology External representations Genetic epistemology Historical epistemology Landmarks Mental models Primate cognition Space

Authors and affiliations

  • Matthias Schemmel
    • 1
  1. 1.Max PIanck Institute for the History of ScienceBerlinGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-25239-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-25241-4
  • Series Print ISSN 2211-4564
  • Series Online ISSN 2211-4572
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