Emergent spacetime and empirical (in) coherence

Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):276-285 (2013)
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Abstract

Numerous approaches to a quantum theory of gravity posit fundamental ontologies that exclude spacetime, either partially or wholly. This situation raises deep questions about how such theories could relate to the empirical realm, since arguably only entities localized in spacetime can ever be observed. Are such entities even possible in a theory without fundamental spacetime? How might they be derived, formally speaking? Moreover, since by assumption the fundamental entities cannot be smaller than the derived and so cannot ‘compose’ them in any ordinary sense, would a formal derivation actually show the physical reality of localized entities? We address these questions via a survey of a range of theories of quantum gravity, and generally sketch how they may be answered positively.

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Author Profiles

Christian Wüthrich
University of Geneva
Nick Huggett
University of Illinois, Chicago

Citations of this work

The World Just Is the Way It Is.David Builes - 2021 - The Monist 104 (1):1-27.
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Duality and ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.

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How to Define Theoretical Terms.David Lewis - 1970 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 36 (2):321-321.

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