No alternative to proliferation
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We reflect on the nature, role and limits of non-empirical theory assessment in fundamental physics, focusing in particular on quantum gravity. We argue for the usefulness and, to some extent, necessity of non-empirical theory assessment, but also examine critically its dangers. We conclude that the principle of proliferation of theories is not only at the very root of theory assessment but all the more necessary when experimental tests are scarce, and also that, in the same situation, it represents the only medicine against the degeneration of scientific research programmes.