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Naturalness, Extra-Empirical Theory Assessments, and the Implications of Skepticism

Wells, James D (2018) Naturalness, Extra-Empirical Theory Assessments, and the Implications of Skepticism. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Naturalness is an extra-empirical quality that aims to assess plausibility of a theory. Finetuning measures are often deputized to quantify the task. However, knowing statistical distributions on parameters appears necessary. Such meta-theories are not known yet. A critical discussion of these issues is presented, including their possible resolutions in fixed points. Both agreement to and skepticism of naturalness's utility remains credible, as is skepticism to any extra-empirical theory assessment (SEETA) that claims to identify ``more correct" theories that are equally empirically adequate. The severe implications of SEETA are set forward in some detail. We conclude with a summary and discussion of the viability of three main viewpoints toward naturalness and finetuning, where the ``moderate naturalness position" is suggested to be most appealing, not suffering from the disquietudes of the extreme pro- and anti-naturalness positions.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Wells, James Djwells@umich.edu0000-0002-8943-5718
Keywords: Naturalness, finetuning,
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Depositing User: Prof. James Wells
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2018 17:18
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2018 17:18
Item ID: 15008
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Date: 19 June 2018
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15008

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