David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 34 (4):559-577 (2003)
The cosmological constant is back. Several lines of evidence point to the conclusion that either there is a positive cosmological constant or else the universe is filled with a strange form of matter (“quintessence”) that mimics some of the effects of a positive lambda. This paper investigates the implications of the former possibility. Two senses in which the cosmological constant can be a constant are distinguished: the capital Λ sense in which lambda is a universal constant on a par with the charge of the electron, and the lower case λ sense in which lambda is a humble constant of integration. The latter interpretation has been touted as the means to a solution to various problems in physics. These claims are critically examined with an eye to discerning the implications for philosophy of science and foundations of physics.
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