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The Landscape and the Multiverse: What's the Problem?

Read, James and Le Bihan, Baptiste (2021) The Landscape and the Multiverse: What's the Problem? [Preprint]

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Abstract

As a candidate theory of quantum gravity, the popularity of string theory has waxed and waned over the past four decades. One current source of scepticism is that the theory can be used to derive, depending upon the input geometrical assumptions that one makes, a vast range of different quantum field theories, giving rise to the so-called landscape problem. One apparent way to address the landscape problem is to posit the existence of a multiverse; this, however, has in turn drawn heightened attention to questions regarding the empirical testability and predictivity of string theory. We argue first that the landscape problem relies on dubious assumptions and does not motivate a multiverse hypothesis. Nevertheless, we then show that the multiverse hypothesis is scientifically legitimate and could be coupled to string theory for other empirical reasons. Looking at various cosmological approaches, we offer an empirical criterion to assess the scientific status of multiverse hypotheses.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Read, Jamesjames.read@philosophy.ox.ac.uk
Le Bihan, Baptistebaptiste.lebihan@unige.ch
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Synthese
Keywords: multiverse; string theory; cosmology; rationalism; empiricism; modal realism; possible worlds
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Dr. Baptiste Le Bihan
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2021 13:14
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2021 13:14
Item ID: 18846
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 2021
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18846

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