Philosophy of Cosmology 2017-08-30T15:27:13+00:00

Project Description

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Philosophy of Cosmology

Cosmology has been transformed from a speculative backwater into a central testing ground for new ideas in fundamental physics. Cosmological theories describe the large scale structure of the universe and its evolution, and cosmologists can now lay claim to a well-supported standard model. These exciting developments present philosophers with a unique opportunity. The rapid progress in cosmology does not derive from a consensus regarding aims and method; instead, progress has occurred despite disagreements on fundamentals. Cosmologists directly confront a number of philosophical questions: the nature and limits of scientific explanation, underdetermination of theory by evidence, applicability of probabilities, and the nature of physical laws. These questions have led to lively debates among cosmologists. These debates tend to tackle the questions piecemeal, but they are interesting and challenging in part because they are so tightly intertwined. Philosophers can contribute by approaching these problems systematically, drawing on broader intellectual resources such as existing work in philosophy of science and comparisons with other scientific fields.


  • Chris Smeenk (Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Western University)