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Are black holes about information?

Wuthrich, Christian (2017) Are black holes about information? [Preprint]

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Abstract

Information theory presupposes the notion of an epistemic agent, such as a scientist or an idealized human. Despite that, information theory is increasingly invoked by physicists concerned with fundamental physics, physics at very high energies, or generally with the physics of situations in which even idealized epistemic agents cannot exist. In this paper, I shall try to determine the extent to which the application of information theory in those contexts is legitimate. I will illustrate my considerations using the case of black hole thermodynamics and Bekenstein's celebrated argument for his formula for the entropy of black holes. This example is particularly pertinent to the theme of the present collection because it is widely accepted as `empirical data' in notoriously empirically deprived quantum gravity, even though the laws of black hole thermodynamics have so far evaded direct empirical confirmation.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Wuthrich, Christianchristian.wuthrich@unige.ch0000-0001-8774-6160
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Richard Dawid, Radin Dardashti, and Karim Th├ębault (eds.), Why Trust a Theory, Cambridge University Press.
Keywords: black holes; black hole thermodynamics; entropy; Bekenstein; quantum gravity; non-empirical methods
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Christian Wuthrich
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2017 16:02
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2017 16:02
Item ID: 13334
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: August 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13334

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