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Sunday, March 18, 2007

physics is conflict?

Nancy Cartwright joins the discussion of pro/con string theory as only game in town. Lee Smolin defends his book which argues that there are valley crossers and hill climbers and we need to encourage more valley crossers applied to other approaches to quantum gravity besides string theory. Michael Duff argues that its just sour grapes and that string theory is young and vigorous with some great achievements so far. Cartwright argues that "physics is conflict". She compares physics to John Locke's discussion of justice (which I'm not familiar with) in which no criterion exists to choose a theory of justice. The role of theory then is to manage conflict- to decide when choices should be made and otherwise, how to help competing camps coexist.
(from here)

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