Worlds Without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse (Hardcover)

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Description


"Multiverse" cosmologies imagine our universe as just one of a vast number of others. While this idea has captivated philosophy, religion, and literature for millennia, it is now being considered as a scientific hypothesis -- with different models emerging from cosmology, quantum mechanics, and string theory.

Beginning with ancient Atomist and Stoic philosophies, Mary-Jane Rubenstein links contemporary models of the multiverse to their forerunners and explores the reasons for their recent emergence. One concerns the so-called fine-tuning of the universe: nature's constants are so delicately calibrated, it seems they have been set just right to allow life to emerge. For some thinkers, these "fine-tunings" are evidence of the existence of God; for others, however, and for most physicists, "God" is an insufficient scientific explanation. Hence the allure of the multiverse: if all possible worlds exist somewhere, then like monkeys hammering out Shakespeare, one universe is bound to be suitable for life. Yet this hypothesis replaces God with an equally baffling article of faith: the existence of universes beyond, before, or after our own, eternally generated yet forever inaccessible to observation or experiment. In sidestepping metaphysics, multiverse scenarios therefore collide with it, even producing their own counter-theological narratives. Rubenstein argues, however, that this interdisciplinary collision provides the multiverse its scientific viability, reconfiguring the boundaries among physics, philosophy, and religion.

Product Details ISBN-10: 0231156626
ISBN-13: 9780231156622
Published: Columbia University Press, 01/01/2014
Pages: 343
Language: English


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