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Dawid, Richard
preprint description
The current status of string theory is assessed quite differently by most of the theory’s exponents than by the majority of physicists in other fields. While the former tend to have a high degree of trust in string theory’s viability, the latter largely share a substantially more sceptical point of view. In the present paper, it shall be argued that the controversy can be best understood in terms of a paradigmatic rift that has opened up between the two sides with respect to their respective understanding of theory assessment. An attempt is made to evaluate the two conflicting paradigms on their own terms. The question whether the new paradigm that emerges in string physics will prevail may be expected to be of crucial importance for the future evolution of fundamental physics.