**This article is about the general framework of distance and direction. For the space beyond Earth's atmosphere, see ****Outer space****. For all other uses, see ****Space (disambiguation)****.****Space**** is the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which ****objects**** and events occur and have relative position and direction.**^{[1]}** Physical space is often conceived in three ****linear**** ****dimensions****, 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.**^{[2]}** 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 that 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 fields**** deviates from Euclidean space.**^{[3]}**Experimental ****tests of general relativity**** have confirmed that non-Euclidean space provides a better model for the shape of space.**

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