Talk: Tiziana Vistarini

The Geneva Symmetry Group, Beyond Spacetime, and the Space and Time After Quantum Gravity Project are happy to present

Tiziana Vistarini (University of Colorado, Boulder):
Metaphysics within the string physics

Wednesday, 29 March, 18:00, skyped in from Chicago

Room L107 at 2, Rue De-Candolle

Anyone who wishes to attend this talk is welcome. No Einstein rating is available for this talk.

Abstract: It is widely held inside the quantum gravity circles that string theory is a background dependent theory and that for this reason any attempt of tracing in the theory any notion of space and time emergence is simply a non starter. In this talk I argue against this view and I present some trains of thought developed in my book supporting the idea that the theory admits a notion of spacetime emergence. Spacetime emergence in string theory is a notion inextricably connected to that of mechanistic explanation. The main thesis of the view I try to pursue in my book is that space and time in string theory are emergent because they are mechanical byproducts of deeper string dynamics. In what sense would space and time be susceptible of mechanical explanation? One may succinctly answer that they are susceptible in the same sense in which things like tables, clocks, cats and people, and so on, are. My thesis articulates basically in two points. First, the idea that string theory physical content is independent from spacetime structure is grounded on my reading of some crucial information built into the local structure of string theory ‘s moduli space. Explaining this crucial point requires me to unpack at least some of the basic tools of deformation theory I used to explore the fine local structure of this space. The lesson about metaphysics I get here is that string theory does not posit any fundamental geometry, rather it only posits some fundamental topological structure, something much weaker than a metrical one. Second, based on these findings, I try to give a description as much complete as possible of how space and time can be thought in terms of mechanical byproducts. This attempt requires a revised formulation, or I may say, an extended definition of what a mechanical explanation is – a proposal that tries to encompass as specific case the traditional one.


About wuthrich

I am a philosopher of physics at the University of Geneva.
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