Synthese 198 (Suppl 14):3489-3516 (forthcoming)

Authors
Karen Crowther
University of Oslo
Abstract
In times of crisis, when current theories are revealed as inadequate to task, and new physics is thought to be required—physics turns to re-evaluate its principles, and to seek new ones. This paper explores the various types, and roles of principles that feature in the problem of quantum gravity as a current crisis in physics. I illustrate the diversity of the principles being appealed to, and show that principles serve in a variety of roles in all stages of the crisis, including in motivating the need for a new theory, and defining what this theory should be like. In particular, I consider: the generalised correspondence principle, UV-completion, background independence, and the holographic principle. I also explore how the current crisis fits with Friedman’s view on the roles of principles in revolutionary theory-change, finding that while many key aspects of this view are not represented in quantum gravity, the view could potentially offer a useful diagnostic, and prescriptive strategy. This paper is intended to be relatively non-technical, and to bring some of the philosophical issues from the search for quantum gravity to a more general philosophical audience interested in the roles of principles in scientific theory-change.
Keywords Theory-change  Friedman  Spacetime  Background independence  Holographic principle  String theory
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Reprint years 2018
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-01970-4
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References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.David Bohm - 1964 - Philosophical Quarterly 14 (57):377-379.
Quantum Gravity.Carlo Rovelli - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
String Theory and the Scientific Method.Richard Dawid - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Loop Quantum Ontology: Spacetime and Spin-Networks.Joshua Norton - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 71:14-25.
Empirically Incoherent Quantum Gravity.Joshua Norton - 2021 - Theoria 87 (6):1349-1379.

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