The Landscape and the Multiverse: What’s the Problem?

Synthese 199 (3-4):7749-7771 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

As a candidate theory of quantum gravity, the popularity of string theory has waxed and waned over the past four decades. One current source of scepticism is that the theory can be used to derive, depending upon the input geometrical assumptions that one makes, a vast range of different quantum field theories, giving rise to the so-called landscape problem. One apparent way to address the landscape problem is to posit the existence of a multiverse; this, however, has in turn drawn heightened attention to questions regarding the empirical testability and predictivity of string theory. We argue first that the landscape problem relies on dubious assumptions and does not motivate a multiverse hypothesis. Nevertheless, we then show that the multiverse hypothesis is scientifically legitimate and could be coupled to string theory for other empirical reasons. Looking at various cosmological approaches, we offer an empirical criterion to assess the scientific status of multiverse hypotheses.

Similar books and articles

Classical theism and the multiverse.Katherin A. Rogers - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 88 (1):23-39.
On Predictions and Explanations in Multiverse Scenarios.Keizo Matsubara - 2018 - In Antonio Piccolomini D’Aragona, Martin Carrier, Roger Deulofeu, Axel Gelfert, Jens Harbecke, Paul Hoyningen-Huene, Lara Huber, Peter Hucklenbroich, Ludger Jansen, Elizaveta Kostrova, Keizo Matsubara, Anne Sophie Meincke, Andrea Reichenberger, Kian Salimkhani & Javier Suárez (eds.), Philosophy of Science: Between the Natural Sciences, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities. Springer Verlag. pp. 43-54.
Beyond Falsifiability: Normal Science in a Multiverse.Sean M. Carroll - 2019 - In Richard Dawid, Radin Dardashti & Karim Thebault (eds.), Epistemology of Fundamental Physics: Why Trust a Theory? Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
The Level I Multiverse Is Not the Same as the Level III Multiverse.Alan McKenzie - 2017 - NSPIRE-HEP, High Energy Physics (HEP) Database, CERN Online Publications, EUROPE.
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.
A Perspective on the Landscape Problem.Lee Smolin - 2013 - Foundations of Physics 43 (1):21-45.
The set-theoretic multiverse.Joel David Hamkins - 2012 - Review of Symbolic Logic 5 (3):416-449.
The Quantum World.A. James Melnick - 2015 - Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 27 (1-2):45-60.
Maddy On The Multiverse.Claudio Ternullo - 2019 - In Deniz Sarikaya, Deborah Kant & Stefania Centrone (eds.), Reflections on the Foundations of Mathematics. Berlin: Springer Verlag. pp. 43-78.

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-03-22

Downloads
635 (#23,042)

6 months
165 (#13,929)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

James Read
Oxford University
Baptiste Le Bihan
University of Geneva

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Every thing must go: metaphysics naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Don Ross, David Spurrett & John G. Collier.
The metaphysics within physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Sydney Shoemaker.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

View all 58 references / Add more references