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2010 11 psa montreal explanation and fundamentalism

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2010 11 psa montreal explanation and fundamentalism

  1. 1. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory The nutshell version of string theory Some case studies of string explanations Rejoinders and ConclusionString Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism Ioan Muntean Department of Philosophy Purdue University–Indiana University, Fort Wayne Philosophy of Science Association Meeting, Montreal, November 2010 Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  2. 2. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionTwo pathways towards Quantum Gravity (QG) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  3. 3. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionTwo pathways towards Quantum Gravity (QG) 1 Find answers (new or right) to perennial philosophical problems in QG (“Philosophical centrism”) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  4. 4. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionTwo pathways towards Quantum Gravity (QG) 1 Find answers (new or right) to perennial philosophical problems in QG (“Philosophical centrism”) 2 Analyze QG as scientific theories or, better, programs (“Philosophical analysis”) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  5. 5. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionTwo pathways towards Quantum Gravity (QG) 1 Find answers (new or right) to perennial philosophical problems in QG (“Philosophical centrism”) 2 Analyze QG as scientific theories or, better, programs (“Philosophical analysis”) 1 ambitious and reformist (integrated in a form of scientism). Useful for metaphysics Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  6. 6. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionTwo pathways towards Quantum Gravity (QG) 1 Find answers (new or right) to perennial philosophical problems in QG (“Philosophical centrism”) 2 Analyze QG as scientific theories or, better, programs (“Philosophical analysis”) 1 ambitious and reformist (integrated in a form of scientism). Useful for metaphysics 2 useful in philosophy of science/physics. Can be normative ... Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  7. 7. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1 Philosophical centrism Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  8. 8. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1 Philosophical centrism Most QG programs say something special about our old metaphysical concepts: Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  9. 9. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1 Philosophical centrism Most QG programs say something special about our old metaphysical concepts: the nature of spacetime, space or time Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  10. 10. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1 Philosophical centrism Most QG programs say something special about our old metaphysical concepts: the nature of spacetime, space or time the measurement problem Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  11. 11. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1 Philosophical centrism Most QG programs say something special about our old metaphysical concepts: the nature of spacetime, space or time the measurement problem the ultimate nature of objects/processes/events in the world Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  12. 12. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1 Philosophical centrism Most QG programs say something special about our old metaphysical concepts: the nature of spacetime, space or time the measurement problem the ultimate nature of objects/processes/events in the world Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  13. 13. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1 Philosophical centrism Most QG programs say something special about our old metaphysical concepts: the nature of spacetime, space or time the measurement problem the ultimate nature of objects/processes/events in the world Question Q1 Which Quantum Gravity program provides the best answer to the metaphysical question X? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  14. 14. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1 Philosophical centrism Most QG programs say something special about our old metaphysical concepts: the nature of spacetime, space or time the measurement problem the ultimate nature of objects/processes/events in the world Question Q1 Which Quantum Gravity program provides the best answer to the metaphysical question X? In most cases, QG are prescriptive in respect of time, space, quantization etc. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  15. 15. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1 Philosophical centrism Most QG programs say something special about our old metaphysical concepts: the nature of spacetime, space or time the measurement problem the ultimate nature of objects/processes/events in the world Question Q1 Which Quantum Gravity program provides the best answer to the metaphysical question X? In most cases, QG are prescriptive in respect of time, space, quantization etc. ??????? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  16. 16. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionPhilosophers should be doing this! Sometimes philosophers help with insights in the problem of space, time, change, dynamics, etc. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  17. 17. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionPhilosophers should be doing this! Sometimes philosophers help with insights in the problem of space, time, change, dynamics, etc. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  18. 18. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionPhilosophers should be doing this! Sometimes philosophers help with insights in the problem of space, time, change, dynamics, etc. “General relativity and quantum field theory are based on some profound insights about the nature of reality. These insights are crystallized in the form of mathematics, but there is a limit to how much progress we can make by just playing around with this mathematics. We need to go back to the insights behind general relativity and quantum field theory, learn to hold them together in our minds, and dare to imagine a world more strange, more beautiful, but ultimately more reasonable than our current theories of it. For this daunting task, philosophical reflection is bound toTheory:of help.” (J. Baez Ioan Muntean String be Explanation and Fundamentalism
  19. 19. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1’. Yet another philosophical centrism Strengthen an existing metaphysics by interpreting QG Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  20. 20. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1’. Yet another philosophical centrism Strengthen an existing metaphysics by interpreting QG Structural Realism and QG Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  21. 21. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1’. Yet another philosophical centrism Strengthen an existing metaphysics by interpreting QG Structural Realism and QG Identity and individuation of objects and QG (compare and contrast with QM and QFT) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  22. 22. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1’. Yet another philosophical centrism Strengthen an existing metaphysics by interpreting QG Structural Realism and QG Identity and individuation of objects and QG (compare and contrast with QM and QFT) Part-whole relations and QG. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  23. 23. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion1’. Yet another philosophical centrism Strengthen an existing metaphysics by interpreting QG Structural Realism and QG Identity and individuation of objects and QG (compare and contrast with QM and QFT) Part-whole relations and QG. For Structural Realism and QG see ? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  24. 24. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion2. Philosophical pathways to QG Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  25. 25. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion2. Philosophical pathways to QG Which QG program is the best as a scientific endeavor? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  26. 26. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion2. Philosophical pathways to QG Which QG program is the best as a scientific endeavor? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  27. 27. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion2. Philosophical pathways to QG Which QG program is the best as a scientific endeavor? Question Q2 Which QG program is the best in respect of a given virtue V? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  28. 28. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion2. Philosophical pathways to QG Which QG program is the best as a scientific endeavor? Question Q2 Which QG program is the best in respect of a given virtue V? Question Q2’ Which Quantum Gravity program has the drawback D? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  29. 29. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion2. Philosophical pathways to QG Which QG program is the best as a scientific endeavor? Question Q2 Which QG program is the best in respect of a given virtue V? Question Q2’ Which Quantum Gravity program has the drawback D? This is discussed by fewer philosophers ??? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  30. 30. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and Conclusion2. Philosophical pathways to QG Which QG program is the best as a scientific endeavor? Question Q2 Which QG program is the best in respect of a given virtue V? Question Q2’ Which Quantum Gravity program has the drawback D? This is discussed by fewer philosophers ??? I plan to follow something similar here Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  31. 31. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  32. 32. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  33. 33. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Question Is string theory a successful QG program? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  34. 34. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Question Is string theory a successful QG program? Dimensions of success of theories: Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  35. 35. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Question Is string theory a successful QG program? Dimensions of success of theories: 1 Empirical confirmation (preferably direct) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  36. 36. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Question Is string theory a successful QG program? Dimensions of success of theories: 1 Empirical confirmation (preferably direct) 2 Predictive success (preferably novel) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  37. 37. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Question Is string theory a successful QG program? Dimensions of success of theories: 1 Empirical confirmation (preferably direct) 2 Predictive success (preferably novel) 3 Non-empirical virtues: unification, explanation, elegance, simplicity Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  38. 38. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Question Is string theory a successful QG program? Dimensions of success of theories: 1 Empirical confirmation (preferably direct) 2 Predictive success (preferably novel) 3 Non-empirical virtues: unification, explanation, elegance, simplicity 4 Problem solving (preferably real problems), etc. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  39. 39. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Question Is string theory a successful QG program? Dimensions of success of theories: 1 Empirical confirmation (preferably direct) 2 Predictive success (preferably novel) 3 Non-empirical virtues: unification, explanation, elegance, simplicity 4 Problem solving (preferably real problems), etc. 5 Fecundity Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  40. 40. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Question Is string theory a successful QG program? Dimensions of success of theories: 1 Empirical confirmation (preferably direct) 2 Predictive success (preferably novel) 3 Non-empirical virtues: unification, explanation, elegance, simplicity 4 Problem solving (preferably real problems), etc. 5 Fecundity 6 Meshing well with other scientific theories Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  41. 41. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Question Is string theory a successful QG program? Dimensions of success of theories: 1 Empirical confirmation (preferably direct) 2 Predictive success (preferably novel) 3 Non-empirical virtues: unification, explanation, elegance, simplicity 4 Problem solving (preferably real problems), etc. 5 Fecundity 6 Meshing well with other scientific theories None of them is necessary and sufficient. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  42. 42. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Question Is string theory a successful QG program? Dimensions of success of theories: 1 Empirical confirmation (preferably direct) 2 Predictive success (preferably novel) 3 Non-empirical virtues: unification, explanation, elegance, simplicity 4 Problem solving (preferably real problems), etc. 5 Fecundity 6 Meshing well with other scientific theories None of them is necessary and sufficient. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  43. 43. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA narrow scope I give up the comparative aspects of Q2 and Q2’and focus on one QG program Question Is string theory a successful QG program? Dimensions of success of theories: 1 Empirical confirmation (preferably direct) 2 Predictive success (preferably novel) 3 Non-empirical virtues: unification, explanation, elegance, simplicity 4 Problem solving (preferably real problems), etc. 5 Fecundity 6 Meshing well with other scientific theories None of them is necessary and sufficient. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  44. 44. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  45. 45. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory It solves some problems: Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  46. 46. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory It solves some problems: the ultraviolet divergences of General Relativity and of Standard Model. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  47. 47. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory It solves some problems: the ultraviolet divergences of General Relativity and of Standard Model. no dimensionless free parameters. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  48. 48. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory It solves some problems: the ultraviolet divergences of General Relativity and of Standard Model. no dimensionless free parameters. Is the dominant research program in quantum gravity (QG) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  49. 49. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory It solves some problems: the ultraviolet divergences of General Relativity and of Standard Model. no dimensionless free parameters. Is the dominant research program in quantum gravity (QG) Is the (leading?) contender for a theory of everything: Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  50. 50. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory It solves some problems: the ultraviolet divergences of General Relativity and of Standard Model. no dimensionless free parameters. Is the dominant research program in quantum gravity (QG) Is the (leading?) contender for a theory of everything: Advertised as: “a single theory that, in principle is capable of describing all phenomena” ((?, ix)). Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  51. 51. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory It solves some problems: the ultraviolet divergences of General Relativity and of Standard Model. no dimensionless free parameters. Is the dominant research program in quantum gravity (QG) Is the (leading?) contender for a theory of everything: Advertised as: “a single theory that, in principle is capable of describing all phenomena” ((?, ix)). Heavily advertised in popularizing literature, perhaps the best known quantum gravity program Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  52. 52. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory It solves some problems: the ultraviolet divergences of General Relativity and of Standard Model. no dimensionless free parameters. Is the dominant research program in quantum gravity (QG) Is the (leading?) contender for a theory of everything: Advertised as: “a single theory that, in principle is capable of describing all phenomena” ((?, ix)). Heavily advertised in popularizing literature, perhaps the best known quantum gravity program Could tell us new stories about the world: Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  53. 53. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory It solves some problems: the ultraviolet divergences of General Relativity and of Standard Model. no dimensionless free parameters. Is the dominant research program in quantum gravity (QG) Is the (leading?) contender for a theory of everything: Advertised as: “a single theory that, in principle is capable of describing all phenomena” ((?, ix)). Heavily advertised in popularizing literature, perhaps the best known quantum gravity program Could tell us new stories about the world: can talk evolution of the universe before the Big Bang (interpreted as a collision of branes) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  54. 54. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory It solves some problems: the ultraviolet divergences of General Relativity and of Standard Model. no dimensionless free parameters. Is the dominant research program in quantum gravity (QG) Is the (leading?) contender for a theory of everything: Advertised as: “a single theory that, in principle is capable of describing all phenomena” ((?, ix)). Heavily advertised in popularizing literature, perhaps the best known quantum gravity program Could tell us new stories about the world: can talk evolution of the universe before the Big Bang (interpreted as a collision of branes) explains facts about black holes, dark matter etc. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  55. 55. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons to . . . love string theory It solves some problems: the ultraviolet divergences of General Relativity and of Standard Model. no dimensionless free parameters. Is the dominant research program in quantum gravity (QG) Is the (leading?) contender for a theory of everything: Advertised as: “a single theory that, in principle is capable of describing all phenomena” ((?, ix)). Heavily advertised in popularizing literature, perhaps the best known quantum gravity program Could tell us new stories about the world: can talk evolution of the universe before the Big Bang (interpreted as a collision of branes) explains facts about black holes, dark matter etc. But these are promises and prospective Explanation and Fundamentalism Ioan Muntean String Theory: undertakings
  56. 56. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionMore reasons to. . . love ST Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  57. 57. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionMore reasons to. . . love ST It is “science in the making” Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  58. 58. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionMore reasons to. . . love ST It is “science in the making” It is mathematically fertile and can provide “mathematical predictions” (?) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  59. 59. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionMore reasons to. . . love ST It is “science in the making” It is mathematically fertile and can provide “mathematical predictions” (?) It is open to interpretive questions (?) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  60. 60. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionMore reasons to. . . love ST It is “science in the making” It is mathematically fertile and can provide “mathematical predictions” (?) It is open to interpretive questions (?) As any other QG, it is a fertile middle ground between philosophy (metaphysics and epistemology) and theoretical physics Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  61. 61. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionAmendments Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  62. 62. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionAmendments String theory does not have the features of a scientific theory Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  63. 63. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionAmendments String theory does not have the features of a scientific theory Call it a program/direction of research, not a theory Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  64. 64. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionAmendments String theory does not have the features of a scientific theory Call it a program/direction of research, not a theory Interpret it as a collection of mathematical models Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  65. 65. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionAmendments String theory does not have the features of a scientific theory Call it a program/direction of research, not a theory Interpret it as a collection of mathematical models 1 each model is false and has intentional falsities inserted Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  66. 66. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionAmendments String theory does not have the features of a scientific theory Call it a program/direction of research, not a theory Interpret it as a collection of mathematical models 1 each model is false and has intentional falsities inserted 2 the model does not latch onto the world Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  67. 67. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionAmendments String theory does not have the features of a scientific theory Call it a program/direction of research, not a theory Interpret it as a collection of mathematical models 1 each model is false and has intentional falsities inserted 2 the model does not latch onto the world string theory does not explains facts, at least not directly. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  68. 68. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionAmendments String theory does not have the features of a scientific theory Call it a program/direction of research, not a theory Interpret it as a collection of mathematical models 1 each model is false and has intentional falsities inserted 2 the model does not latch onto the world string theory does not explains facts, at least not directly. it may predict mathematical facts or even provide mathematical results Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  69. 69. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons not to. . . love it Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  70. 70. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons not to. . . love it String theory is a “glorified” QFT (and nothing more) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  71. 71. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons not to. . . love it String theory is a “glorified” QFT (and nothing more) “a chip of the same block” as QFT has its own skeleton in the closet Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  72. 72. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons not to. . . love it String theory is a “glorified” QFT (and nothing more) “a chip of the same block” as QFT has its own skeleton in the closet String theory: Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  73. 73. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons not to. . . love it String theory is a “glorified” QFT (and nothing more) “a chip of the same block” as QFT has its own skeleton in the closet String theory: is background dependent (Smolin, Rovelli, Penrose) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  74. 74. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons not to. . . love it String theory is a “glorified” QFT (and nothing more) “a chip of the same block” as QFT has its own skeleton in the closet String theory: is background dependent (Smolin, Rovelli, Penrose) does not seem to address deep philosophical issues (?) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  75. 75. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons not to. . . love it String theory is a “glorified” QFT (and nothing more) “a chip of the same block” as QFT has its own skeleton in the closet String theory: is background dependent (Smolin, Rovelli, Penrose) does not seem to address deep philosophical issues (?) never solved or addressed the measurement problem Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  76. 76. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons not to. . . love it String theory is a “glorified” QFT (and nothing more) “a chip of the same block” as QFT has its own skeleton in the closet String theory: is background dependent (Smolin, Rovelli, Penrose) does not seem to address deep philosophical issues (?) never solved or addressed the measurement problem All known string theories are perturbation theories Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  77. 77. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionSome reasons not to. . . love it String theory is a “glorified” QFT (and nothing more) “a chip of the same block” as QFT has its own skeleton in the closet String theory: is background dependent (Smolin, Rovelli, Penrose) does not seem to address deep philosophical issues (?) never solved or addressed the measurement problem All known string theories are perturbation theories String solutions are unstable (?) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  78. 78. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA reason to hate it: background dependency Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  79. 79. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA reason to hate it: background dependency ST presupposes a spacetime background and by this it defies general relativity (???) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  80. 80. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA reason to hate it: background dependency ST presupposes a spacetime background and by this it defies general relativity (???) Philosophers do not like this dependency either (See Introduction to ?) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  81. 81. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA reason to hate it: background dependency ST presupposes a spacetime background and by this it defies general relativity (???) Philosophers do not like this dependency either (See Introduction to ?) So does QFT, it involves a fixed spacetime geometry (a priori?) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  82. 82. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA reason to hate it: background dependency ST presupposes a spacetime background and by this it defies general relativity (???) Philosophers do not like this dependency either (See Introduction to ?) So does QFT, it involves a fixed spacetime geometry (a priori?) But this is against the very principle of general relativity. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  83. 83. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA reason to hate it: background dependency ST presupposes a spacetime background and by this it defies general relativity (???) Philosophers do not like this dependency either (See Introduction to ?) So does QFT, it involves a fixed spacetime geometry (a priori?) But this is against the very principle of general relativity. In String Theory geometry is not dynamical anymore. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  84. 84. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionA reason to hate it: background dependency ST presupposes a spacetime background and by this it defies general relativity (???) Philosophers do not like this dependency either (See Introduction to ?) So does QFT, it involves a fixed spacetime geometry (a priori?) But this is against the very principle of general relativity. In String Theory geometry is not dynamical anymore. It is like the “unmoved mover” or the ether. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  85. 85. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionThe prodigal ST Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  86. 86. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionThe prodigal ST “What is very frustrating is that . . . string theory does not seem to fully incorporate the basic lesson of GR, which is that space and time are dynamical rather than fixed, and relational rather than absolute . . . all that happens is that some strings move against this fixed background and interact with one another.” ((?, 159)) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  87. 87. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionThe prodigal ST “What is very frustrating is that . . . string theory does not seem to fully incorporate the basic lesson of GR, which is that space and time are dynamical rather than fixed, and relational rather than absolute . . . all that happens is that some strings move against this fixed background and interact with one another.” ((?, 159)) Roughly speaking, ST replicates the mistake of Newtonian physics and overlooks some central achievements of GR. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  88. 88. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionThe prodigal ST “What is very frustrating is that . . . string theory does not seem to fully incorporate the basic lesson of GR, which is that space and time are dynamical rather than fixed, and relational rather than absolute . . . all that happens is that some strings move against this fixed background and interact with one another.” ((?, 159)) Roughly speaking, ST replicates the mistake of Newtonian physics and overlooks some central achievements of GR. i.e. it does mesh well with mature/successful/well-accepted scientific theories. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  89. 89. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionBleak philosophy of string theory: confirmation andprediction Is ST confirmed directly? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  90. 90. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionBleak philosophy of string theory: confirmation andprediction Is ST confirmed directly? No, it is not. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  91. 91. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionBleak philosophy of string theory: confirmation andprediction Is ST confirmed directly? No, it is not. Is ST successful in providing novel predictions? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  92. 92. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionBleak philosophy of string theory: confirmation andprediction Is ST confirmed directly? No, it is not. Is ST successful in providing novel predictions? No, it is not. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  93. 93. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionBleak philosophy of string theory: confirmation andprediction Is ST confirmed directly? No, it is not. Is ST successful in providing novel predictions? No, it is not. Some predictions are in sight in “string cosmology” or stringy black holes Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  94. 94. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionBleak philosophy of string theory: confirmation andprediction Is ST confirmed directly? No, it is not. Is ST successful in providing novel predictions? No, it is not. Some predictions are in sight in “string cosmology” or stringy black holes I would not apply a “naive falsificationism” to string theory. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  95. 95. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionApply GOF falsificationism to string theory? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  96. 96. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionApply GOF falsificationism to string theory? No data, no falsification, no science Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  97. 97. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionApply GOF falsificationism to string theory? No data, no falsification, no science Hence string theory is closer to: Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  98. 98. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionApply GOF falsificationism to string theory? No data, no falsification, no science Hence string theory is closer to: Mathematics Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  99. 99. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionApply GOF falsificationism to string theory? No data, no falsification, no science Hence string theory is closer to: Mathematics Metaphysics Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  100. 100. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionApply GOF falsificationism to string theory? No data, no falsification, no science Hence string theory is closer to: Mathematics Metaphysics Speculation Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  101. 101. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionApply GOF falsificationism to string theory? No data, no falsification, no science Hence string theory is closer to: Mathematics Metaphysics Speculation Mysticism, new-age cults or even religion (it creates its own lingo). Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  102. 102. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionApply GOF falsificationism to string theory? No data, no falsification, no science Hence string theory is closer to: Mathematics Metaphysics Speculation Mysticism, new-age cults or even religion (it creates its own lingo). Some deemed ST (and QG) as “postmodern physics” (Nambu) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  103. 103. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionApply GOF falsificationism to string theory? No data, no falsification, no science Hence string theory is closer to: Mathematics Metaphysics Speculation Mysticism, new-age cults or even religion (it creates its own lingo). Some deemed ST (and QG) as “postmodern physics” (Nambu) Several physicists aired these worries: L. Smolin, P. Woit, R. Penrose Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  104. 104. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionApply GOF falsificationism to string theory? No data, no falsification, no science Hence string theory is closer to: Mathematics Metaphysics Speculation Mysticism, new-age cults or even religion (it creates its own lingo). Some deemed ST (and QG) as “postmodern physics” (Nambu) Several physicists aired these worries: L. Smolin, P. Woit, R. Penrose Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  105. 105. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionExperimental agnosticism Stay agnostic about its direct experimental confirmation Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  106. 106. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionExperimental agnosticism Stay agnostic about its direct experimental confirmation Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  107. 107. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionExperimental agnosticism Stay agnostic about its direct experimental confirmation “Test me if you can!” Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  108. 108. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionExperimental agnosticism Stay agnostic about its direct experimental confirmation “Test me if you can!” Credits go to http://icanhascheeseburger.com Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  109. 109. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionLess bleak philosophy of string theory: some virtues Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  110. 110. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionLess bleak philosophy of string theory: some virtues What theoretical dimensions of scientific success are known? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  111. 111. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionLess bleak philosophy of string theory: some virtues What theoretical dimensions of scientific success are known? 1 Unification Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  112. 112. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionLess bleak philosophy of string theory: some virtues What theoretical dimensions of scientific success are known? 1 Unification 2 Explanation Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  113. 113. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionLess bleak philosophy of string theory: some virtues What theoretical dimensions of scientific success are known? 1 Unification 2 Explanation 3 Elegancy, Cohesion, Beauty, Simplicity, you name it. . . Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  114. 114. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionLess bleak philosophy of string theory: some virtues What theoretical dimensions of scientific success are known? 1 Unification 2 Explanation 3 Elegancy, Cohesion, Beauty, Simplicity, you name it. . . 4 Problem Solving Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  115. 115. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionLess bleak philosophy of string theory: some virtues What theoretical dimensions of scientific success are known? 1 Unification 2 Explanation 3 Elegancy, Cohesion, Beauty, Simplicity, you name it. . . 4 Problem Solving 1 is obvious and recognized as such (but deserves attention, too) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  116. 116. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionLess bleak philosophy of string theory: some virtues What theoretical dimensions of scientific success are known? 1 Unification 2 Explanation 3 Elegancy, Cohesion, Beauty, Simplicity, you name it. . . 4 Problem Solving 1 is obvious and recognized as such (but deserves attention, too) 3 difficult to define, vague, ambiguous Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  117. 117. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionLess bleak philosophy of string theory: some virtues What theoretical dimensions of scientific success are known? 1 Unification 2 Explanation 3 Elegancy, Cohesion, Beauty, Simplicity, you name it. . . 4 Problem Solving 1 is obvious and recognized as such (but deserves attention, too) 3 difficult to define, vague, ambiguous 4 is a interesting topic in itself (Ex: string and anomalies) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  118. 118. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionLess bleak philosophy of string theory: some virtues What theoretical dimensions of scientific success are known? 1 Unification 2 Explanation 3 Elegancy, Cohesion, Beauty, Simplicity, you name it. . . 4 Problem Solving 1 is obvious and recognized as such (but deserves attention, too) 3 difficult to define, vague, ambiguous 4 is a interesting topic in itself (Ex: string and anomalies) Here I tackle 2 and relatedly, 1. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  119. 119. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionLess bleak philosophy of string theory: some virtues What theoretical dimensions of scientific success are known? 1 Unification 2 Explanation 3 Elegancy, Cohesion, Beauty, Simplicity, you name it. . . 4 Problem Solving 1 is obvious and recognized as such (but deserves attention, too) 3 difficult to define, vague, ambiguous 4 is a interesting topic in itself (Ex: string and anomalies) Here I tackle 2 and relatedly, 1. Why 2? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  120. 120. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionDoes string theory “latch onto reality”? If so, how? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  121. 121. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionDoes string theory “latch onto reality”? If so, how? If string explanation is succesful, one can try to run an “inference from the best explanation”. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  122. 122. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionDoes string theory “latch onto reality”? If so, how? If string explanation is succesful, one can try to run an “inference from the best explanation”. But this inference needs to be precedeed by an analysis of the surplus structure of string theory. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  123. 123. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionDoes string theory “latch onto reality”? If so, how? If string explanation is succesful, one can try to run an “inference from the best explanation”. But this inference needs to be precedeed by an analysis of the surplus structure of string theory. Other related questions: Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  124. 124. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionDoes string theory “latch onto reality”? If so, how? If string explanation is succesful, one can try to run an “inference from the best explanation”. But this inference needs to be precedeed by an analysis of the surplus structure of string theory. Other related questions: Is ST or is it not “non-referential”? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  125. 125. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionDoes string theory “latch onto reality”? If so, how? If string explanation is succesful, one can try to run an “inference from the best explanation”. But this inference needs to be precedeed by an analysis of the surplus structure of string theory. Other related questions: Is ST or is it not “non-referential”? Do we have reasons to believe in the reality of strings (or branes or whatever?) Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  126. 126. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionDoes string theory “latch onto reality”? If so, how? If string explanation is succesful, one can try to run an “inference from the best explanation”. But this inference needs to be precedeed by an analysis of the surplus structure of string theory. Other related questions: Is ST or is it not “non-referential”? Do we have reasons to believe in the reality of strings (or branes or whatever?) What reason do we have to embrace a “string realism”? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  127. 127. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionWhat is needed in the metaphysics of string theory? Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  128. 128. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionWhat is needed in the metaphysics of string theory? As in QM or QFT, we cannot “read off” the ontology from their equations Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  129. 129. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionWhat is needed in the metaphysics of string theory? As in QM or QFT, we cannot “read off” the ontology from their equations Hard to differentiate the surplus from the real elements of the theory. Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  130. 130. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionWhat is needed in the metaphysics of string theory? As in QM or QFT, we cannot “read off” the ontology from their equations Hard to differentiate the surplus from the real elements of the theory. We cannot cherry-pick the equations and interpret them Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism
  131. 131. Philosophy and Quantum Gravity programs Explanation and string theory Two stances The nutshell version of string theory Philosophy of Science and String Theory Some case studies of string explanations String metaphysics? Rejoinders and ConclusionWhat is needed in the metaphysics of string theory? As in QM or QFT, we cannot “read off” the ontology from their equations Hard to differentiate the surplus from the real elements of the theory. We cannot cherry-pick the equations and interpret them Differentiate explanatory fictions from real explanatory entities Ioan Muntean String Theory: Explanation and Fundamentalism

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