On the conflicting assessments of the current status of string theory

Philosophy of Science 76 (5):984-996 (2009)
The current status of string theory is assessed quite differently by most of the theory’s exponents than by the majority of physicists in other fields. While the former tend to have a high degree of trust in string theory’s viability, the latter largely share a substantially more skeptical point of view. This article argues that the controversy can be best understood in terms of a paradigmatic rift between the two sides over their understandings of theory assessment. An attempt is made to evaluate the two conflicting paradigms on their own terms. †To contact the author, please write to: Institute Vienna Circle, University of Vienna, Universtitätscampus Spitalgasse 2‐4, Hof 1, 1090 Vienna, Austria; e‐mail: richard.dawid@univie.ac.at.
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