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I present a recent historical case from cosmology—the story of inflationary cosmology—and on its basis argue that solving explanatory problems is a reliable method for making progress in science. In particular, I claim that the success of inflationary theory at solving its predecessor’s explanatory problems justified the theory epistemically, even in advance of the development of novel predictions from the theory and the later confirmation of those predictions. 

I investigate the role of stability in cosmology through two episodes from the recent history of cosmology: Einstein’s static universe and Eddington’s demonstration of its instability, and the flatness problem of the hot big bang model and its claimed solution by inflationary theory. These episodes illustrate differing reactions to instability in cosmological models, both positive ones and negative ones. To provide some context to these reactions, I also situate them in relation to perspectives on stability from dynamical systems theory and (...) 

Analogue experiments have attracted interest for their potential to shed light on inaccessible domains. For instance, ‘dumb holes’ in fluids and Bose–Einstein condensates, as analogues of black holes, have been promoted as means of confirming the existence of Hawking radiation in real black holes. We compare analogue experiments with other cases of experiment and simulation in physics. We argue—contra recent claims in the philosophical literature—that analogue experiments are not capable of confirming the existence of particular phenomena in inaccessible target systems. (...) 

Several physicists, among them Hawking, Page, Coule, and Carroll, have argued against the probabilistic intuitions underlying finetuning arguments in cosmology and instead propose that the canonical measure on the phase space of FriedmanRobertsonWalker spacetimes should be used to evaluate finetuning. They claim that flat spacetimes in this set are actually typical on this natural measure and that therefore the flatness problem is illusory. I argue that they misinterpret typicality in this phase space and, moreover, that no conclusion can be drawn (...) 

The claim of inflationary cosmology to explain certain observable facts, which the FriedmannRoberstonWalker models of `BigBang' cosmology were forced to assume, has already been the subject of significant philosophical analysis. However, the principal empirical claim of inflationary cosmology, that it can predict the scaleinvariant power spectrum of density perturbations, as detected in measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation, has hitherto been taken at face value by philosophers. The purpose of this paper is to expound the theory of density perturbations (...) 

I discuss the formal implementation, interpretation, and justification of likelihood attributions in cosmology. I show that likelihood arguments in cosmology suffer from significant conceptual and formal problems that undermine their applicability in this context. 

We discuss scientific realism from the perspective of modern cosmology, especially primordial cosmology: i.e. the cosmological investigation of the very early universe. We first state our allegiance to scientific realism, and discuss what insights about it cosmology might yield, as against "just" supplying scientific claims that philosophers can then evaluate. In particular, we discuss: the idea of laws of cosmology, and limitations on ascertaining the global structure of spacetime. Then we review some of what is now known about the early (...) 

Cosmology raises novel philosophical questions regarding the use of probabilities in inference. This work aims at identifying and assessing lines of arguments and problematic principles in probabilistic reasoning in cosmology. / The first, second, and third papers deal with the intersection of two distinct problems: accounting for selection effects, and representing ignorance or indifference in probabilistic inferences. These two problems meet in the cosmology literature when anthropic considerations are used to predict cosmological parameters by conditionalizing the distribution of, e.g., the (...) 

ABSTRACTThe idea that there might be multiple universes with different parameters of nature is often considered an attractive response to the finding that various parameters appear to be delicately finetuned for life. The present paper investigates whether the appeal to finetuning can legitimately be combined with an appeal to independent empirical evidence for other universes or whether, as suggested by Cory Juhl, combining such appeals inevitably results in illegitimate double counting of the finding that the parameters are right for life. (...) 