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monday :: january 20, 2003
space, time and beyond: symposium of science, technics and aesthetics

Our notions of space and time figure prominently in our map of reality. They serve to order things and events in our environment and are therefore of paramount importance not only in our everyday life, but also in our attempts to understand nature through science and philosophy. There is no law of physics which does not require the concepts of space and time for its formulation. However, we have no direct sensory experience of four-dimensional space-time, nor of the other relativistic concepts. Whenever we study natural phenomena involving high velocities, we find it very hard to deal with these concepts both at the level of intuition and ordinary language. Are there fundamental limits to what can be said about the world? Do we need - as some physicists suggest - to extrapolate quantum theory to the elements of space-time?

The problem of relating the mental and physical sides of reality has long been a key one, especially in Western philosophy. What are the foundations of cognition and experience in the natural sciences? The eastern spiritual traditions show their followers various ways of going beyond the ordinary experience of time and of freeing themselves from the chain of cause and effect - from the bondage of karma, as the Hindus and the Buddhists say. Is Eastern mysticism therefore a 'liberation from time'? Can the same be said in a way of relativistic physics? What is the relationship between the observer and observed in both the Tibetan Buddhist and Western scientific/philosophical understanding? How does the material world come into existence? In what sense are the properties of an object inherent, or, alternatively, do they arise through the act of observation? Is consciousness a physical process and connected to physics? >from *5th Biennial International Symposium of Science, Technics and Aesthetics*, january 18-19, 2003.

related context
the enigma of consciousness: symposium of science, technics and aesthetics. january 16, 2001

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