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Interpreting Theories without a Spacetime

De Haro, Sebastian and De Regt, Henk W. (2018) Interpreting Theories without a Spacetime. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 8 (3). pp. 631-670. ISSN 1879-4912

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Abstract

In this paper we have two aims: first, to draw attention to the close connexion between interpretation and scientific understanding; second, to give a detailed account of how theories without a spacetime can be interpreted, and so of how they can be understood.

In order to do so, we of course need an account of what is meant by a theory `without a spacetime': which we also provide in this paper.

We describe three tools, used by physicists, aimed at constructing interpretations which are adequate for the goal of understanding. We analyse examples from high-energy physics illustrating how physicists use these tools to construct interpretations and thereby attain understanding. The examples are: the 't Hooft approximation of gauge theories, random matrix models, causal sets, loop quantum gravity, and group field theory.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
De Haro, Sebastiansd696@cam.ac.uk0000-0002-3000-5967
De Regt, Henk W.h.w.de.regt@vu.nl
Keywords: interpretation; scientific understanding; quantum gravity; spacetime; visualisation
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Depositing User: Dr Sebastian De Haro
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2019 13:54
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2019 13:54
Item ID: 16345
Journal or Publication Title: European Journal for Philosophy of Science
Publisher: Springer
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13194-018-0204-x
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13194-018-0204-x
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Date: 21 May 2018
Page Range: pp. 631-670
Volume: 8
Number: 3
ISSN: 1879-4912
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16345

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