Duality and ontology

Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555 (2018)

Authors
Baptiste Le Bihan
University of Geneva
James Read
Oxford University
Abstract
A ‘duality’ is a formal mapping between the spaces of solutions of two empirically equivalent theories. In recent times, dualities have been found to be pervasive in string theory and quantum field theory. Naïvely interpreted, duality-related theories appear to make very different ontological claims about the world—differing in e.g. space-time structure, fundamental ontology, and mereological structure. In light of this, duality-related theories raise questions familiar from discussions of underdetermination in the philosophy of science: in the presence of dual theories, what is one to say about the ontology of the world? In this paper, we undertake a comprehensive and non-technical survey of the landscape of possible ontological interpretations of duality-related theories. We provide a significantly enriched and clarified taxonomy of options—several of which are novel to the literature.
Keywords duality  ontology  quantum gravity  string theory  correspondence
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1111/phc3.12555
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References found in this work BETA

What is Structural Realism?James Ladyman - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):409-424.
On the Plurality of Grounds.Shamik Dasgupta - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.

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Citations of this work BETA

Have We Lost Spacetime on the Way? Narrowing the Gap Between General Relativity and Quantum Gravity.Baptiste Le Bihan & Niels Linnemann - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 65:112-121.
On Miracles and Spacetime.James Read - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 65:103-111.

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