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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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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
Rickles, Dean
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 15:19
Item ID: 5399

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