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Emergent spacetime and empirical (in)coherence

Huggett, Nick and Wuthrich, Christian (2012) Emergent spacetime and empirical (in)coherence. [Preprint]

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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 can't be smaller than the derived (since relative size is a spatiotemporal notion) and so can't '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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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: 18 pages, 1 figure. Final version; to appear in Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
    Keywords: spacetime; quantum gravity; empirical incoherence; causal set theory; loop quantum gravity; string theory; non-commutative geometry
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
    Depositing User: Christian Wuthrich
    Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2012 22:19
    Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 07:57
    Item ID: 9445
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9445

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