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Space

Space is the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which [objects] and events occur and have relative position and direction. Physical space is often conceived in three [linear] [dimension] s, although modern [physicists] usually consider it, with [time] , to be part of the boundless four-dimensional continuum known as [spacetime] . In [mathematics] one examines 'spaces' with different numbers of dimensions and with different underlying structures. The concept of space is considered to be of fundamental importance to an understanding of the physical [universe] although disagreement continues between [philosophers] over whether it is itself an entity, a relationship between entities, or part of a [conceptual framework] .

Many of the philosophical questions arose in the 17th century, during the early development of [classical mechanics] . In [Isaac Newton's] view, space was absolute - in the sense that it existed permanently and independently of whether there were any matter in the space. Other [natural philosophers] , notably [Gottfried Leibniz] , thought instead that space was a collection of relations between objects, given by their [distance] and [direction] from one another. In the 18th century, [Immanuel Kant] described space and time as elements of a systematic framework which humans use to structure their experience.

In the 19th and 20th centuries mathematicians began to examine [non-Euclidean geometries] , in which space can be said to be curved , rather than flat . According to [Albert Einstein's] [theory of general relativity] , space around [gravitational field] s deviates from Euclidean space. Experimental [tests of general relativity] have confirmed that non-Euclidean space provides a better model for explaining the existing laws of [mechanics] and [optics] .

Philosophy of space

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