Why Trust a Theory?
Epistemology of Fundamental Physics
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- Radin Dardashti, University of Wuppertal
- Richard Dawid, Stockholm University
- Karim Thébault, University of Bristol
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Do we need to reconsider scientific methodology in light of modern physics? Has the traditional scientific method become outdated, does it need to be defended against dangerous incursions, or has it always been different from what the canonical view suggests? To what extent should we accept non-empirical strategies for scientific theory assessment? Many core aspects of contemporary fundamental physics are far from empirically well-confirmed. There is controversy on the epistemic status of the corresponding theories, in particular cosmic inflation, the multiverse, and string theory. This collection of essays is based on the high profile workshop 'Why Trust a Theory?' and provides interdisciplinary perspectives on empirical testing in fundamental physics from leading physicists, philosophers and historians of science. Integrating different contemporary and historical positions, it will be of interest to philosophers of science and physicists, as well as anyone interested in the foundations of contemporary science.Read more
- Discussion is based on in-person interactions between the contributors at the landmark workshop 'Why Trust a Theory?', providing a lively and engaging debate
- Interdisciplinary contributors ensure a balanced argument in tune with the latest developments in their fields
- Discusses the question of trust in contemporary fundamental physics, which is of crucial importance for the future of the field and, more broadly, the future development of science
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- Date Published: March 2019
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781108583268
- contains: 16 b/w illus.
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction Radin Dardashti, Richard Dawid and Karim Thébault
2. Fundamental theories and epistemic shifts: can history of science serve as a guide? Helge Kragh
3. Scientific speculation – a pragmatic approach Peter Achinstein
4. Assessing scientific theories Radin Dardashti and Stephan Hartmann
5. Philosophy of science and the string wars: a view from the outside Massimo Pigliucci
6. The significance of non-empirical confirmation in fundamental physics Richard Dawid
7. The dangers of non-empirical confirmation Carlo Rovelli
8. No alternative to proliferation Daniele Oriti
9. Physics without experiments? Radin Dardashti
10. Scientific methodology: a view from early string theory Elena Castellani
11. What can we learn from analogue experiments? Karim Thébault
12. Are black holes about information? Christian Wuthrich
13. The limits of cosmology Joseph Silk
14. The role of cosmology in modern physics Bjorn Malte Schafer
15. Theory confirmation and multiverses George Ellis
16. Beyond falsifiability: normal science in a multiverse Sean Carroll
17. Gaining access to the early universe Chris Smeenk
18. String theory to the rescue Joseph Polchinski
19. Why trust a theory? Some further remarks Joseph Polchinski
20. The dangerous irrelevance of string theory Eva Silverstein
21. String/M-theories about our world are testable in the traditional physics way Gordon Kane
22. Is string phenomenology an oxymoron? Fernando Quevedo.
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