The idea of the interdisciplinary research “Measured Time and Space” arose in 2020, when the Interdisciplinary Research Centre of Academic Library of the University of Latvia organized an interdisciplinary section within the framework of 78th International Scientific Conference of the University of Latvia. It was intended to answer the questions: What is a number and how is it represented in thinking, different realities, and objects: cartography, geography, mathematics, music, philosophy, dance, etc.? How do numbers form references to reality – governed and expropriated territories, space of thought and concept? How to display the measured time and space on sheets of paper or computer screens? What is the time that can be portrayed, and what is the time that can only be survived? Do all maps have reliable references to objective reality, and are the days and years measurable by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun in all calendars? How is time measured in music and dance? What time and space strata are measured in the notation of the composition? How to find the connection between subjective and objective time, between the objectively measurable three-dimensional space and the subjective perception of space? These questions cover different areas of science and the arts, and the answers from one discipline make linkages with others.

In this book, which is the second serie of collection of scientific articles phronesis, praxis, paideia of the Interdisciplinary Research Centre of Academic Library of the University of Latvia, eight original scientific articles and a Latvian translation of Jorge Luis Borhes’ (1899–1989) philosophical essay “Time” have been published. Not all research presented at the conference “Measured Time and Space” are published in the book but only a part of them where philosophers and philologists express their views in a joint discussion about number, and measurement of time and space. Their theoretical “measurements” form a composition in which each fragment reveals something about the scales of spatial and temporal measurements. Things are measured according to a certain situation and dedicate to both experiences objectively assessed and constituted in subjectivity. Multidimensional “measurement” scales are applicable in every situation differently. Time and space are important philosophical topics to which the classics of philosophy have paid attention. Philosophy is interested in the inner perception of space and time. Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) pays great attention to space and time as forms of our sensible intuition of objects – they are not beings that exist independently of our intuition. Phenomenological thinker Edmund Husserl (1859–1938) reflects on the consciousness considering its temporality. He outlines how temporality provides the form for perception, phantasy, imagination, memory, and recollection. Husserl demonstrates a distinction between cosmic and phenomenological time and compares it with Heraclitus’ river. French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961) develops kinaesthetic awareness of spatial equivalences of bodily movements in contrast to the “positional spatiality” of things. He analyses space in the context of the perception and shows how the body has a “situational spatiality”.

Ancient philosopher Protagoras (483–410 AD) proclaimed the thesis of homo mensura: “Man is the measure of all things”. Things do not measure themselves; a person applies a mea-sure to them. Each of us is unique in our own perception.

What does the book contain? The current volume compiles studies on number and counting, coordinates, calendars, utopian aspects of cartography. It views the measured spaces of image and the virtual realities of numbers. Jorge Luis Borges’ essay “Time”, translated by Inguna Miļūna, gives philosophical description of time connecting hearing, music, memory, the flow of time, and refers to Plato, St. Augustine, Arthur Schopenhauer, Henri Bergson, and others. This essay has not been available to Latvian readers until now. Ineta Kivle views the philosophical aspects of two functions of number – imitation and simulation. A number is related to stability and proportions, harmony, it is contained in the calculations of geometric shapes and the human body, etc., it forms the digital world, virtual environment, models, as well as other entities. The number can be studied on the basis of specific examples and processes, but it can also be evaluated as a substance, a tool, a measure of stability, and other aspects. The number is a mathematical object, abstract and intelligible, independent of the translations in national languages, a lasting measure in relation to subjective interpretations, while being present in different branches of science – humanities and arts, social sciences, life sciences, meta-sciences. Raivis Bičevskis analyses cultural criticism as “the obsession of the modern sciences with numbers and calculations”. Linda Gediņa’s research focuses on the space of artwork and language – space in art is not countable and evaluable, but divisible, and thus metaphorical. Anna Strode explores the space and time constraints of wedding rituals in Livonia in the 16th and 17th centuries. Iveta Nātriņa talks about the coordinates of the utopian space, notes the utopias of time, and shows how the currents of utopian consciousness are rooted in ancient thinking and manifested in the 16th–18th centuries. The article by Inta Līsmane and Ilze Ruža views the statistics of foreign students of Latvian language at the University of Latvia. Two articles are dedicated to calendar research: Gunta Jaunmuktāne’s article considers the history of calendars, while Viesturs Zander’s study delving into Latvian exile calendar research provides detailed factual material.

The published papers are only a small part of the possible studies of measured space and time. This topic engages every branch of science: physics, philosophy, music, geography, psychology, and so on, but for each of them space and time are differently measured and understood.

Ineta Kivle,
Dr. phil., leading researcher,
Deputy Director of Academic Library of the University of Latvia,
Head of the Interdisciplinary Research Centre