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When do we stop digging? Conditions on a fundamental theory of physics

In Anthony Aguirre, Brendan Foster & Zeeya Merali (eds.), What is ‘Fundamental’? Springer. pp. 123-133 (2019)

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  1. The Landscape and the Multiverse: What’s the Problem?James Read & Baptiste Le Bihan - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7749-7771.
    As a candidate theory of quantum gravity, the popularity of string theory has waxed and waned over the past four decades. One current source of scepticism is that the theory can be used to derive, depending upon the input geometrical assumptions that one makes, a vast range of different quantum field theories, giving rise to the so-called landscape problem. One apparent way to address the landscape problem is to posit the existence of a multiverse; this, however, has in turn drawn (...)
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  • Spacetime Emergence: Collapsing the Distinction Between Content and Context?Karen Crowther - forthcoming - In Shyam Wuppuluri & Ian Stewart (eds.), From Electrons to Elephants and Elections: Saga of Content and Context. Springer.
    Several approaches to developing a theory of quantum gravity suggest that spacetime—as described by general relativity—is not fundamental. Instead, spacetime is supposed to be explained by reference to the relations between more fundamental entities, analogous to `atoms' of spacetime, which themselves are not (fully) spatiotemporal. Such a case may be understood as emergence of \textit{content}: a `hierarchical' case of emergence, where spacetime emerges at a `higher', or less-fundamental, level than its `lower-level' non-spatiotempral basis. But quantum gravity cosmology also presents us (...)
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  • Framing the Epistemic Schism of Statistical Mechanics.Javier Anta - 2021 - Proceedings of the X Conference of the Spanish Society of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science.
    In this talk I present the main results from Anta (2021), namely, that the theoretical division between Boltzmannian and Gibbsian statistical mechanics should be understood as a separation in the epistemic capabilities of this physical discipline. In particular, while from the Boltzmannian framework one can generate powerful explanations of thermal processes by appealing to their microdynamics, from the Gibbsian framework one can predict observable values in a computationally effective way. Finally, I argue that this statistical mechanical schism contradicts the Hempelian (...)
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  • Fundamentality in Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Physics. Part II: The Philosophy of Physics.Matteo Morganti - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (10):1-14.
    This is the second part of an overview article on fundamentality in metaphysics and the philosophy of physics. Here, the notion of fundamentality is looked at from the viewpoint of the philosophical analysis of physics and physical theories. The questions are considered (1) whether physics can be regarded as fundamental with respect to other sciences, and in what sense; (2) what the label ‘fundamental physics’ should exactly be taken to mean; (3) on what grounds a particular physical theory should be (...)
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