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Progress and Gravity: Overcoming Divisions between General Relativity and Particle Physics and between Physics and HPS

Pitts, J. Brian (2017) Progress and Gravity: Overcoming Divisions between General Relativity and Particle Physics and between Physics and HPS. The Philosophy of Cosmology, Ch. 13. pp. 263-282.

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Abstract

Reflective equilibrium between physics and philosophy, and between GR and particle physics, is fruitful and rational. I consider the virtues of simplicity, conservatism, and conceptual coherence, along with perturbative expansions.
There are too many theories to consider. Simplicity supplies initial guidance, after which evidence increasingly dominates. One should start with scalar gravity; evidence required spin 2.
Good beliefs are scarce, so don't change without reason. But does conservatism prevent conceptual innovation? No: considering all serious possibilities (Feynman, Weinberg, etc.) could lead to Einstein's equations. (The rehabilitation of massive gravity shows that 'progress' isn't unidirectional.)
GR is surprisingly intelligible. Energy localization makes sense if one believes Noether mathematics: an infinity of symmetries shouldn't produce just one energy. Hamiltonian change results from Lagrangian-equivalence.
Causality poses conceptual questions. For GR, what are canonical 'equal-time' commutators? For massive spin 2, background causality exists but is violated. Both might be cured by engineering a background null cone respected by a gauge groupoid.
Perturbative expansions can enlighten. They diagnose Einstein's 1917 'mass'-Lambda analogy. Ogievetsky-Polubarinov (1965) invented an infinity of massive spin 2 gravities---including ghost-free de Rham-Gabadadze-Tolley (2010) theories!---perturbatively, and achieved the impossible (c.f. Weyl, Cartan): spinors in coordinates.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Pitts, J. Brianjbp25@cam.ac.uk0000-0002-7299-5137
Keywords: perturbative expansion alternative theories cosmological constant \Lambda massive gravity Noether's theorems conservation laws gravitational energy problem of time constrained Hamiltonian dynamics spinors
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Rhetoric of Science
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr. Dr. J. Brian Pitts
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2019 02:40
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2019 02:40
Item ID: 16253
Journal or Publication Title: The Philosophy of Cosmology, Ch. 13
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1017/9781316535783.014
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Rhetoric of Science
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 2017
Page Range: pp. 263-282
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16253

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