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Building on Templeton supported work, we propose collaborative research on cosmological consequences of quantum theories of gravity: a philosophical study of the implications of quantum big bang, black hole, and multiverse models, promising profound lessons beyond those of classical cosmology. In addressing these philosophical questions beyond classical cosmology, the project breaks new ground.

In line with Sir John Templeton’s belief that progress in understanding requires a partnership of physics and philosophy, work will engage scholars from both fields, and has potential to advance both. Big Questions addressed include: the fundamental nature of space and time, especially the beginning of (and ‘before’) time; the possibility of a multiverse; how we might have knowledge of such things; the relationship between emergent spacetime and the quantum measurement problem.

In the tangled histories of physics and philosophy, the concepts of space and time are fundamental: underpinning science and our metaphysical and epistemological theories - and their development is central to scientific revolutions. It is during revolutions that scientific and philosophical questions become inextricably linked. Our work is explicitly symmetrical: not only does it explore the possible implications of theories of quantum gravity for our philosophical worldview, but also the contributions of metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of science to the articulation of such theories.

Research groups at UIC and Geneva - PIs, students, pre- and postdoctoral fellows - will publish in leading venues, organize a summer school, two workshops, and two conferences. We will produce videos of lectures and talks and disseminate them through our online channels. In all its outputs, the project seeks to enhance the dialogue between physics and philosophy, which we believe indispensable for the articulation of the philosophical consequences for the broader public, and progress in science.