Beyond Falsifiability: Normal Science in a Multiverse

In Dawid Richard, Dardashti Radin & Thebault Karim (eds.), Epistemology of Fundamental Physics: Why Trust a Theory? Cambridge University Press (2019)
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Abstract

Cosmological models that invoke a multiverse - a collection of unobservable regions of space where conditions are very different from the region around us - are controversial, on the grounds that unobservable phenomena shouldn't play a crucial role in legitimate scientific theories. I argue that the way we evaluate multiverse models is precisely the same as the way we evaluate any other models, on the basis of abduction, Bayesian inference, and empirical success. There is no scientifically respectable way to do cosmology without taking into account different possibilities for what the universe might be like outside our horizon. Multiverse theories are utterly conventionally scientific, even if evaluating them can be difficult in practice.

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Sean M. Carroll
Johns Hopkins University

Citations of this work

The Great Loop: From Conformal Cyclic Cosmology to Aeon Monism.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2024 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie.
Privileged-Perspective Realism in the Quantum Multiverse.Nora Berenstain - 2020 - In David Glick, George Darby & Anna Marmodoro (eds.), The Foundation of Reality: Fundamentality, Space, and Time. Oxford University Press.
Reconsidering the Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy Charge Against the Fine-Tuning Argument for the Multiverse.Simon Friederich - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (1):29-41.
What Is the Spatiotemporal Extension of the Universe? Underdetermination according to Kant’s First Antinomy and in Present-Day Cosmology.Claus Beisbart - 2022 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 12 (1):286-307.

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Conjectures and Refutations.K. Popper - 1963 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery.K. Popper - 1959 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10 (37):55-57.

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