Foundations of Physics 43 (1):54-80 (2013)

Authors
Dean Rickles
University of Sydney
Abstract
The dominance of string theory in the research landscape of quantum gravity physics (despite any direct experimental evidence) can, I think, be justified in a variety of ways. Here I focus on an argument from mathematical fertility, broadly similar to Hilary Putnam’s ‘no miracles argument’ that, I argue, many string theorists in fact espouse in some form or other. String theory has generated many surprising, useful, and well-confirmed mathematical ‘predictions’—here I focus on mirror symmetry and the mirror theorem. These predictions were made on the basis of general physical principles entering into string theory. The success of the mathematical predictions are then seen as evidence for the framework that generated them. I shall attempt to defend this argument, but there are nonetheless some serious objections to be faced. These objections can only be evaded at a considerably high (philosophical) price
Keywords String theory  Mirror symmetry  No miracles argument
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DOI 10.1007/s10701-010-9504-5
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References found in this work BETA

Science Without Numbers: A Defence of Nominalism.Hartry H. Field - 1980 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA

Duality and Ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.
Emergent Spacetime and Empirical (in) Coherence.Nick Huggett & Christian Wüthrich - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):276-285.
Target Space ≠ Space.Nick Huggett - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59:81-88.
On Dualities and Equivalences Between Physical Theories.Jeremy Butterfield - forthcoming - In Christian Wüthrich, Baptiste Le Bihan & Nick Huggett (eds.), Philosophy Beyond Spacetime. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The Interpretation of String-Theoretic Dualities.James Read - 2016 - Foundations of Physics 46 (2):209-235.

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