Four Attitudes Towards Singularities in the Search for a Theory of Quantum Gravity

In Antonio Vassallo (ed.), The Foundations of Spacetime Physics: Philosophical Perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 223-250 (2022)
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Singularities in general relativity and quantum field theory are often taken not only to motivate the search for a more-fundamental theory (quantum gravity, QG), but also to characterise this new theory and shape expectations of what it is to achieve. Here, we first evaluate how particular types of singularities may suggest an incompleteness of current theories. We then classify four different 'attitudes' towards singularities in the search for QG, and show, through examples in the physics literature, that these lead to different scenarios for the new theory. Two of the attitudes prompt singularity resolution, but only one suggests the need for a theory of QG. Rather than evaluate the different attitudes, we close with some suggestions of factors that influence the choice between them.



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