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Karen Crowther
University of Oslo
  1.  28
    Effective Spacetime: Understanding Emergence in Effective Field Theory and Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther - 2016 - Springer.
    This book discusses the notion that quantum gravity may represent the "breakdown" of spacetime at extremely high energy scales. If spacetime does not exist at the fundamental level, then it has to be considered "emergent", in other words an effective structure, valid at low energy scales. The author develops a conception of emergence appropriate to effective theories in physics, and shows how it applies (or could apply) in various approaches to quantum gravity, including condensed matter approaches, discrete approaches, and loop (...)
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  2. Inter-Theory Relations in Quantum Gravity: Correspondence, Reduction and Emergence.Karen Crowther - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 63:74-85.
    Relationships between current theories, and relationships between current theories and the sought theory of quantum gravity (QG), play an essential role in motivating the need for QG, aiding the search for QG, and defining what would count as QG. Correspondence is the broad class of inter-theory relationships intended to demonstrate the necessary compatibility of two theories whose domains of validity overlap, in the overlap regions. The variety of roles that correspondence plays in the search for QG are illustrated, using examples (...)
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  3.  26
    Renormalizability, Fundamentality, and a Final Theory: The Role of UV-Completion in the Search for Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther & Niels Linnemann - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):377-406.
    Principles are central to physical reasoning, particularly in the search for a theory of quantum gravity, where novel empirical data are lacking. One principle widely adopted in the search for QG is ultraviolet completion: the idea that a theory should hold up to all possible high energies. We argue— contra standard scientific practice—that UV-completion is poorly motivated as a guiding principle in theory-construction, and cannot be used as a criterion of theory-justification in the search for QG. For this, we explore (...)
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  4.  50
    What We Cannot Learn From Analogue Experiments.Karen Crowther, Niels S. Linnemann & Christian Wüthrich - 2019 - Synthese:1-26.
    Analogue experiments have attracted interest for their potential to shed light on inaccessible domains. For instance, ‘dumb holes’ in fluids and Bose–Einstein condensates, as analogues of black holes, have been promoted as means of confirming the existence of Hawking radiation in real black holes. We compare analogue experiments with other cases of experiment and simulation in physics. We argue—contra recent claims in the philosophical literature—that analogue experiments are not capable of confirming the existence of particular phenomena in inaccessible target systems. (...)
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  5. Renormalizability, Fundamentality and a Final Theory: The Role of UV-Completion in the Search for Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther & Niels Linnemann - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx052.
    Principles are central to physical reasoning, particularly in the search for a theory of quantum gravity (QG), where novel empirical data is lacking. One principle widely adopted in the search for QG is UV completion: the idea that a theory should (formally) hold up to all possible high energies. We argue---/contra/ standard scientific practice---that UV-completion is poorly-motivated as a guiding principle in theory-construction, and cannot be used as a criterion of theory-justification in the search for QG. For this, we explore (...)
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  6. When Do We Stop Digging? Conditions on a Fundamental Theory of Physics.Karen Crowther - 2019 - In Anthony Aguirre, Brendan Foster & Zeeya Merali (eds.), What is ‘Fundamental’? Springer. pp. 123-133.
    In seeking an answer to the question of what it means for a theory to be fundamental, it is enlightening to ask why the current best theories of physics are not generally believed to be fundamental. This reveals a set of conditions that a theory of physics must satisfy in order to be considered fundamental. Physics aspires to describe ever deeper levels of reality, which may be without end. Ultimately, at any stage we may not be able to tell whether (...)
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  7.  63
    Decoupling Emergence and Reduction in Physics.Karen Crowther - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (3):419-445.
    An effective theory in physics is one that is supposed to apply only at a given length scale; the framework of effective field theory describes a ‘tower’ of theories each applying at different length scales, where each ‘level’ up is a shorter-scale theory. Owing to subtlety regarding the use and necessity of EFTs, a conception of emergence defined in terms of reduction is irrelevant. I present a case for decoupling emergence and reduction in the philosophy of physics. This paper develops (...)
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  8. Defining a Crisis: The Roles of Principles in the Search for a Theory of Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther - forthcoming - Synthese:1-28.
    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, (...)
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  9.  49
    Appearing Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Sydney
    Quantum gravity is understood as a theory that, in some sense, unifies general relativity (GR) and quantum theory, and is supposed to replace GR at extremely small distances (high-energies). It may be that quantum gravity represents the breakdown of spacetime geometry described by GR. The relationship between quantum gravity and spacetime has been deemed ``emergence'', and the aim of this thesis is to investigate and explicate this relation. After finding traditional philosophical accounts of emergence to be inappropriate, I develop a (...)
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  10.  57
    Introduction: Principles of Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther & Dean Rickles - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 46 (2):135-141.
    In this introduction, we describe the rationale behind this special issue on Principles of Quantum Gravity. We explain what we mean by ‘principles’ and relate this to the various contributions. Finally, we draw out some general themes that can be found running throughout these contributions.
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  11. What is the Point of Reduction in Science?Karen Crowther - 2018 - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    The numerous and diverse roles of theory reduction in science have been insufficiently explored in the philosophy literature on reduction. Part of the reason for this has been a lack of attention paid to reduction2 (successional reduction)---although I here argue that this sense of reduction is closer to reduction1 (explanatory reduction) than is commonly recognised, and I use an account of reduction that is neutral between the two. This paper draws attention to the utility---and incredible versatility---of theory reduction. A non-exhaustive (...)
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  12.  64
    Emergent Spacetime According to Effective Field Theory: From Top-Down and Bottom-Up.Karen Crowther - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):321-328.
    The framework of effective field theory is a natural one in which to understand the claim that the spacetime of general relativity is an emergent low-energy phenomenon. I argue for a pragmatic understanding of EFT, given that the appropriate conception of emergence it suggests is necessarily epistemological in a sense. Analogue models of spacetime are examples of the top-down approach to EFT. They offer concrete illustrations of spacetime emergent within an EFT, and lure us toward a strong analogy between condensed (...)
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  13. As Below, So Before: `Synchronic' and `Diachronic' Conceptions of Spacetime Emergence.Karen Crowther - forthcoming - Synthese:1-29.
    Typically, a less fundamental theory, or structure, emerging from a more fundamental one is an example of synchronic emergence. A model (and the physical state it describes) emerging from a prior model (state) upon which it nevertheless depends is an example of diachronic emergence. The case of spacetime emergent from quantum gravity and quantum cosmology challenges these two conceptions of emergence. Here, I propose two more-general conceptions of emergence, analogous to the synchronic and diachronic ones, but which are potentially applicable (...)
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  14.  74
    Art, Politics, and Particle Physics, with One Eye on the Past: Steven Weinberg: Third Thoughts. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2018, 240pp, $25.95HB. [REVIEW]Karen Crowther - 2019 - Metascience 28 (2):331-334.
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  15.  17
    Reduction and Emergence in Science and Philosophy By Carl Gillett Cambridge University Press, 2016. 389pp., £52.99 ISBN: 9781107075351. [REVIEW]Karen Crowther - 2018 - Philosophy 93 (4):586-590.
  16.  51
    Review of Beyond the Dynamical Universe: Unifying Block Universe Physics and Time as Experienced by Michael Silberstein, W. M. Stuckey, and Timothy McDevitt. [REVIEW]Karen Crowther - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Review of Books 2019.
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  17.  10
    Spacetime Functionalism in General Relativity and Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther, Niels S. Linnemann & Christian Wüthrich - forthcoming - Synthese:1-7.
    Introduction for the Synthese Special Issue on Spacetime Functionalism.
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    What is the Point of Reduction in Science?Karen Crowther - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1437-1460.
    The numerous and diverse roles of theory reduction in science have been insufficiently explored in the philosophy literature on reduction. Part of the reason for this has been a lack of attention paid to reduction2 —although I here argue that this sense of reduction is closer to reduction1 than is commonly recognised, and I use an account of reduction that is neutral between the two. This paper draws attention to the utility—and incredible versatility—of theory reduction. A non-exhaustive list of various (...)
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