Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

The Philosophy of Cosmology

$56.00 ( ) USD

Award Winner
George F. R. Ellis, Bernard Carr, Claus Beisbart, Roderich Tumulka, John D. Barrow, Jean-Philippe Uzan, Joel R. Primack, Joseph Silk, James Hartle, Thomas Hertog, Chris Smeenk, Kimberly K. Boddy, Sean M. Carroll, Jason Pollack, Tom Banks, J. Brian Pitts, Carlo Rovelli, Francesca Vidotto, Don N. Page, Daniel Sudarsky, Ward Struyve, Svend E. Rugh, Henrik Zinkernagel, Cian Dorr, Frank Arntzenius, Martin Sahlén, Luke A. Barnes, Cormac O'Raifeartaigh, David Wallace, David Albert
View all contributors
  • Date Published: April 2017
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316996034

$ 56.00 USD ( )
Adobe eBook Reader

You will be taken to for this purchase
Buy eBook Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Following a long-term international collaboration between leaders in cosmology and the philosophy of science, this volume addresses foundational questions at the limit of science across these disciplines, questions raised by observational and theoretical progress in modern cosmology. Space missions have mapped the Universe up to its early instants, opening up questions on what came before the Big Bang, the nature of space and time, and the quantum origin of the Universe. As the foundational volume of an emerging academic discipline, experts from relevant fields lay out the fundamental problems of contemporary cosmology and explore the routes toward finding possible solutions. Written for graduates and researchers in physics and philosophy, particular efforts are made to inform academics from other fields, as well as the educated public, who wish to understand our modern vision of the Universe, related philosophical questions, and the significant impacts on scientific methodology.

    • Promotes the philosophy of cosmology as a new academic discipline
    • Brings together experts in cosmology and the philosophy of physics to discuss fundamental issues in modern cosmology, to define new philosophical questions, and to develop new lines of thinking about them
    • Fundamental problems are explained clearly, to make the debate accessible to students and philosophers of science and metaphysicians, as well as to the wider academic community
    Read more


    • Winner, 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The editors of this volume boldly announce that this collection of essays by an international group of philosophers and physicists 'marks a beginning' of 'a body of philosophical literature engaged with contemporary cosmology …' Currently, cosmology is at the pinnacle of innovation; its rapid development requires engagement from physicists and philosophers of physics on foundational issues. What is speculative or meta-cosmology today, soon becomes the cosmology of tomorrow as theory struggles to keep up with discovery. Thus, the book begins with a section entitled 'Issues in the Philosophy of Cosmology' and proceeds to delve further into more specialized topics in cosmological structures, gravity, quantum foundations, and 'methodological and philosophical issues'. It should be noted that the quality of the volume’s essays varies, as well as the level of technical difficulty; some chapters are remarkably lucid while others are comprehensible only to specialists.' L. B. McHenry, Choice

    'This volume, based on a series of workshops and a conference, brings together contributions by cosmologists and philosophers. … many readers will probably use certain chapters as jumping-off points for deeper study, helped by the copious references. At the same time, the chapters are long enough to provide more than a cursory introduction to the topic at hand. Despite the fact that - or perhaps because - cosmology is now a mainly data-driven science, the philosophy of cosmology has become an active but not yet mature field; this book provides a good introduction.' Phillip Helbig, The Observatory

    'What is remarkable about this collection of chapters is that it offers a dialogue between two scientific communities, cosmologists/high energy physicists and philosophers of science, that unfortunately do not usually interact enough with each other. … It is not possible to do justice to the number of interesting ideas and proposals presented in this very rich book in a short review. … In summary, this book presents a collection of chapters written by some of the foremost experts in their respective fields. The most interesting of these chapters are those written by scientists who truly tried to build a bridge between philosophy of science and cosmology. Overall, this book is well worth reading as it contains many fascinating perspectives and ideas presented in a very accessible manner for the different communities involved in this project.' Xavier Calmet, Springer Nature

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2017
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316996034
    • contains: 60 b/w illus. 10 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Issues in the Philosophy of Cosmology:
    1. The domain of cosmology and the testing of cosmological theories George F. R. Ellis
    2. Black holes, cosmology and the passage of time: three problems at the limits of science Bernard Carr
    3. Moving boundaries? – comments on the relationship between philosophy and cosmology Claus Beisbart
    4. On the question why there exists something rather than nothing Roderich Tumulka
    Part II. Structures in the Universe and the Structure of Modern Cosmology:
    5. Some generalities about generality John D. Barrow
    6. Emergent structures of effective field theories Jean-Philippe Uzan
    7. Cosmological structure formation Joel R. Primack
    8. Formation of galaxies Joseph Silk
    Part III. Foundations of Cosmology: Gravity and the Quantum:
    9. The observer strikes back James Hartle and Thomas Hertog
    10. Testing inflation Chris Smeenk
    11. Why Boltzmann brains do not fluctuate into existence from the de Sitter vacuum Kimberly K. Boddy, Sean M. Carroll and Jason Pollack
    12. Holographic inflation revised Tom Banks
    13. Progress and gravity: overcoming divisions between general relativity and particle physics and between physics and HPS J. Brian Pitts
    Part IV. Quantum Foundations and Quantum Gravity:
    14. Is time's arrow perspectival? Carlo Rovelli
    15. Relational quantum cosmology Francesca Vidotto
    16. Cosmological ontology and epistemology Don N. Page
    17. Quantum origin of cosmological structure and dynamical reduction theories Daniel Sudarsky
    18. Towards a novel approach to semi-classical gravity Ward Struyve
    Part V. Methodological and Philosophical Issues:
    19. Limits of time in cosmology Svend E. Rugh and Henrik Zinkernagel
    20. Self-locating priors and cosmological measures Cian Dorr and Frank Arntzenius
    21. On probability and cosmology: inference beyond data? Martin Sahlén
    22. Testing the multiverse: Bayes, fine-tuning and typicality Luke A. Barnes
    23. A new perspective on Einstein's philosophy of cosmology Cormac O'Raifeartaigh
    24. The nature of the past hypothesis David Wallace
    25. Big and small David Albert.

  • Editors

    Khalil Chamcham, University of Oxford
    Khalil Chamcham is a researcher at the University of Oxford. He acted as the executive director of the UK collaboration on the 'Philosophy of Cosmology' programme. His main research interests are in the chemical evolution of galaxies, nucleosynthesis, dark matter, and the concept of time. He has co-authored four books and co-edited ten, including From Quantum Fluctuations to Cosmological Structures (with David Valls-Gabaud, Martin A. Hendry and Paolo Molaro, 1997).

    Joseph Silk, University of Oxford
    Joseph Silk FRS is Homewood Professor at The Johns Hopkins University, Research Scientist at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, CNRS and Sorbonne Universities, and Senior Fellow at the Beecroft Institute for Particle Astrophysics at the University of Oxford. He has written seven popular books on cosmology, including The Big Bang, 3rd edition (2001), On the Shores of the Unknown: A Short History of the Universe (Cambridge, 2005), and The Infinite Cosmos: Questions from the Frontiers of Cosmology (2006). His research areas include dark matter, the formation of the galaxies, and the big bang theory. He has received numerous awards and prestigious international fellowships.

    John D. Barrow, University of Cambridge
    John D. Barrow FRS is Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project to improve the appreciation of mathematics amongst the general public, teachers, and school students. The recipient of many distinguished prizes, his research interests are in cosmology, gravitation, and the interface between particle physics and astronomy. He is also a prolific author, the most recent of his twenty-two books being 100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know about Maths and the Arts (2014) and The Book of Universes (2011).

    Simon Saunders, University of Oxford
    Simon Saunders is Professor of Philosophy of Physics at the University of Oxford and a Tutorial Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. He is the lead editor of Many Worlds? Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality (with Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent and David Wallace, 2010) and the author of more than sixty articles in philosophy of physics, with special emphasis on the foundations of quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and symmetries. He also works on structuralism in philosophy of science and metaphysics, focusing on the logic of identity. He is president-elect of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science.


    George F. R. Ellis, Bernard Carr, Claus Beisbart, Roderich Tumulka, John D. Barrow, Jean-Philippe Uzan, Joel R. Primack, Joseph Silk, James Hartle, Thomas Hertog, Chris Smeenk, Kimberly K. Boddy, Sean M. Carroll, Jason Pollack, Tom Banks, J. Brian Pitts, Carlo Rovelli, Francesca Vidotto, Don N. Page, Daniel Sudarsky, Ward Struyve, Svend E. Rugh, Henrik Zinkernagel, Cian Dorr, Frank Arntzenius, Martin Sahlén, Luke A. Barnes, Cormac O'Raifeartaigh, David Wallace, David Albert


    • Winner, 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.