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Mirror Symmetry and Other Miracles in Superstring Theory

Rickles, Dean (2010) Mirror Symmetry and Other Miracles in Superstring Theory. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    The dominance of string theory in the research landscape of quantum gravity physics (despite any direct experimental evidence) can, I think, be justified in a variety of ways. Here I focus on an argument from mathematical fertility, broadly similar to Hilary Putnam’s ‘no miracles argument’ that, I argue, many string theorists in fact espouse. String theory leads to many surprising, useful, and well-confirmed mathematical ‘predictions’—here I focus on mirror symmetry. These predictions are made on the basis of general physical principles entering into string theory. The success of the mathematical predictions are then seen as evidence for framework that generated them. I attempt to defend this argument, but there are nonetheless some serious objections to be faced. These objections can only be evaded at a high (philosophical) price.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: For submission to a Foundations of Physics special issue on “Forty Years Of String Theory: Reflecting On the Foundations” (edited by G. ‘t Hooft, E. Verlinde, D. Dieks and S. de Haro).
    Keywords: String Theory, Mirror symmetry, Duality, No Miracles Argument
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
    General Issues > Theory/Observation
    General Issues > Explanation
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
    Specific Sciences > Physics
    General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
    General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
    Depositing User: Dr Dean Rickles
    Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2010
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:19
    Item ID: 5399
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/5399

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