The philosophy behind quantum gravity

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Henrik Zinkernagel
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This paper investigates some of the philosophical and conceptual issues raised by the search for a quantum theory of gravity. It is critically discussed whether such a theory is necessary in the first place, and how much would be accomplished if it is eventually constructed. I argue that the motivations behind, and expectations to, a theory of quantum gravity are entangled with central themes in the philosophy of science, in particular unification, reductionism, and the interpretation of quantum mechanics. I further argue that there are – contrary to claims made on behalf of string theory – no good reasons to think that a quantum theory of gravity, if constructed, will provide a theory of everything, that is, a fundamental theory from which all physics in principle can be derived.

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