Inter-theory Relations in Quantum Gravity: Correspondence, Reduction and Emergence

Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 63:74-85 (2018)
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Abstract

Relationships between current theories, and relationships between current theories and the sought theory of quantum gravity (QG), play an essential role in motivating the need for QG, aiding the search for QG, and defining what would count as QG. Correspondence is the broad class of inter-theory relationships intended to demonstrate the necessary compatibility of two theories whose domains of validity overlap, in the overlap regions. The variety of roles that correspondence plays in the search for QG are illustrated, using examples from specific QG approaches. Reduction is argued to be a special case of correspondence, and to form part of the definition of QG. Finally, the appropriate account of emergence in the context of QG is presented, and compared to conceptions of emergence in the broader philosophy literature. It is argued that, while emergence is likely to hold between QG and general relativity, emergence is not part of the definition of QG, and nor can it serve usefully in the development and justification of the new theory.

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Karen Crowther
University of Oslo

References found in this work

Quantum Gravity.Carlo Rovelli - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
String Theory and the Scientific Method.Richard Dawid - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
Emergent spacetime and empirical (in) coherence.Nick Huggett & Christian Wüthrich - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):276-285.

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