Dirac’s “fine-tuning problem”: A constructive use of anachronism?

dc.contributor.authorKent Staley
dc.contributor.otherAmit Hagar
dc.creatorstaleykw@gmail.com
dc.date.accessioned2021-01-29T16:20:16Z
dc.date.available2021-01-29T16:20:16Z
dc.date.issued2010
dc.description.abstractIn order to shed light on contemporary arguments about "fine-tuning" in cosmology, I examine a possible historical precedent for fine-tuning from the early years of Quantum Electrodynamics: the divergent self-energy of the electron in Dirac's theory. I argue that viewing this problem as a fine-tuning problem involves an anachronistic reconstruction, but that such reconstructions can be philosophically useful so long as they are not confused with real historical understanding. I relate how, historically, this problem really was conceived, and show how one important step toward its solution drew upon an interpretation of Dirac's formalism in terms of "hole theory." In light of the subsequent demise of hole theory, I argue that my anachronistic reconstruction can serve as a cautionary tale that should considerably weaken the conclusions that might otherwise be drawn from attempts to give theistic or multiverse solutions to cosmological fine-tuning problems.
dc.formattalk
dc.identifier.doihttps://doi.org/10.1162/POSC_a_00082
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/2022/26157
dc.relation.ispartofseries3; Open: 5
dc.relation.isversionofDownstream publication: Staley, Kent. (2012) "Dirac's "Fine-Tuning Problem": A Constructive Use of Anachronism?" Perspectives on Science, 20(4), 476-503.
dc.subjectmodern
dc.subjectmethod, historiography, philosophy, history
dc.subjectphysics
dc.subjectphilosophy and history of physics, fine-tuning problem, historiography, anachronism
dc.titleDirac’s “fine-tuning problem”: A constructive use of anachronism?

Files

Original bundle

Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Name:
Dirac fine tuning.pdf
Size:
63.63 KB
Format:
Adobe Portable Document Format
Description:

Collections

If you need an accessible version of this item, please email your request to iusw@iu.edu so that they may create one and provide it to you.