Can we justifiably assume the cosmological principle in order to break model underdetermination in cosmology?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):175 - 205 (2009)
If cosmology is to obtain knowledge about the whole universe, it faces an underdetermination problem: Alternative space-time models are compatible with our evidence. The problem can be avoided though, if there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle (CP), because, assuming the principle, one can confine oneself to the small class of homogeneous and isotropic space-time models. The aim of this paper is to ask whether there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle in order to avoid underdetermination in cosmology. Various strategies to justify the CP are examined. For instance, arguments to the effect that the truth of the CP follows generically from a large set of initial conditions; an inference to the best explanation; and an inductive strategy are assessed. I conclude that a convincing justification of the CP has not yet been established, but this claim is contingent on a number of results that may have to be revised in the future.
|Keywords||Cosmology Cosmological principle Space-time Underdetermination General theory of relativity|
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Citations of this work BETA
Jeremy Butterfield (2014). On Under-Determination in Cosmology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 46 (1):57-69.
Jeremy Butterfield (2012). Underdetermination in Cosmology: An Invitation. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):1-18.
C. D. McCoy (forthcoming). Prediction in General Relativity. Synthese:1-19.
Brigitte Falkenburg (2014). On the Contributions of Astroparticle Physics to Cosmology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 46 (1):97-108.
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