Immanence in Physics


  • Tanja Traxler University of Vienna


physics, immanence, Deleuze, space, complementarity, physical space


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.

Author Biography

Tanja Traxler, University of Vienna

Tanja Traxler is PhD-student and university lecturer at the faculty of physics of the University of Vienna. Her interdisciplinary thesis ‘Entanglement in space—philosophical considerations on space and bodies in quantum physics’ (working title), is—together with the doctoral theses of Louise Beltzung Horvath and Julia Grillmayr—part of the PhD-project ‘Thinking Space’ (funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences 2012–2016 through a ‘DOC-team’-grant). Being trained as a theoretical quantum physicist, in her PhD she focuses on philosophical considerations of quantum theory. She has been invited as a visiting research scholar to the University of Twente, Netherlands and to the University of California/Santa Cruz and has presented her work at more than 20 international conferences and workshops. Beside her academic career, she is working as a science editor for the Austrian newspaper Der Standard, mainly in the fields of physics and philosophy.


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How to Cite

“Immanence in Physics”. 2017. Performance Philosophy 3 (3): 766-80.



The Concept of Immanence in Contemporary Philosophy and the Arts

How to Cite

“Immanence in Physics”. 2017. Performance Philosophy 3 (3): 766-80.