Immanence in Physics

Tanja Traxler


In this article, the conceptual history of space in physics will be presented in the context of transcendent and immanent concepts. In short, transcendent concepts postulate space as an ambient super-structure to organize material objects, while in immanent concepts space does not exist apart from objects but emerges through their relations. In this analysis it becomes apparent that transcendent characterizations of space have been dominant in physics during the past centuries, while immanent conceptions of space have come to the fore only since the development of the general theory of relativity. The importance of immanence in physics besides relativity is still lacking. In contrast to the classical framework of absolute and relative accounts of space, the notions of transcendence and immanence allow for a complementary conception of space which combines elements of both.


physics; immanence; Deleuze; space; complementarity; physical space

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