Spacetime in String Theory: A Conceptual Clarification

Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):333-353 (2018)
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Abstract

In this paper, some conceptual issues are addressed in order to make sense of what string theory is supposed to tell us about spacetime. The dualities in string theory are used as a starting point for our argumentation. We explore the consequences of a standard view towards these dualities, namely that the dual descriptions represent the same physical situation. Given this view, one has to understand string theory in a manner such that what counts as physical spacetime is based only on the shared physical content—or common core—of the dual descriptions. In general such a spatiotemporal picture does not have to agree with, or be similar to, any of the ones suggested by naïve readings of the dual descriptions. However, in certain regimes or limits, one or the other of the initial dual descriptions may give a good effective description of physical spacetime.

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Lars-Göran Johansson
Uppsala University

Citations of this work

Duality and ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.

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References found in this work

The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Emergent spacetime and empirical (in) coherence.Nick Huggett & Christian Wüthrich - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):276-285.
Spacetime is as spacetime does.Vincent Lam & Christian Wüthrich - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:39-51.
Elementary Quantum Metaphysics.David Albert - 1996 - In J. T. Cushing, Arthur Fine & Sheldon Goldstein (eds.), Bohmian Mechanics and Quantum theory: An Appraisal. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 277-284.

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