Renormalizability, fundamentality and a final theory: The role of UV-completion in the search for quantum gravity

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):377–406 (2017)
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Abstract

Principles are central to physical reasoning, particularly in the search for a theory of quantum gravity (QG), where novel empirical data is lacking. One principle widely adopted in the search for QG is UV completion: the idea that a theory should (formally) hold up to all possible high energies. We argue---/contra/ standard scientific practice---that UV-completion is poorly-motivated as a guiding principle in theory-construction, and cannot be used as a criterion of theory-justification in the search for QG. For this, we explore the reasons for expecting, or desiring, a UV-complete theory, as well as analyse how UV completion is used, and how it should be used, in various specific approaches to QG.

Author Profiles

Karen Crowther
University of Oslo
Niels Linnemann
University of Geneva

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