Renormalizability, fundamentality and a final theory: The role of UV-completion in the search for quantum gravity

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):377–406 (2017)
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Abstract

Principles are central to physical reasoning, particularly in the search for a theory of quantum gravity (QG), where novel empirical data is lacking. One principle widely adopted in the search for QG is UV completion: the idea that a theory should (formally) hold up to all possible high energies. We argue---/contra/ standard scientific practice---that UV-completion is poorly-motivated as a guiding principle in theory-construction, and cannot be used as a criterion of theory-justification in the search for QG. For this, we explore the reasons for expecting, or desiring, a UV-complete theory, as well as analyse how UV completion is used, and how it should be used, in various specific approaches to QG.

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Author Profiles

Karen Crowther
University of Oslo
Niels Linnemann
University of Geneva

Citations of this work

Inter-theory Relations in Quantum Gravity: Correspondence, Reduction and Emergence.Karen Crowther - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 63:74-85.
When do we stop digging? Conditions on a fundamental theory of physics.Karen Crowther - 2019 - In Anthony Aguirre, Brendan Foster & Zeeya Merali (eds.), What is Fundamental? Cham: Springer Verlag. pp. 123-133.
Quantum Gravity and Mereology: Not So Simple.Sam Baron & Baptiste Le Bihan - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):19-40.
Quantum gravity at low energies.David Wallace - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 94 (C):31-46.

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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.
Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell.A. Zee - 2010 - Princeton University Press.
Taking particle physics seriously: A critique of the algebraic approach to quantum field theory.David Wallace - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 42 (2):116-125.

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