Philosophy of cosmology

Galaxies

A group of galaxies as seen by Hubble. Image courtesy NASA, ESA, M. Livio and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScl/AURA).

The mind wants to discover by reasoning what exists in the infinity of space that lies out there, beyond the ramparts of this world
Lucretius

Over the millennia many philosophers must have been inspired by the stars and mused about our role in this vast Universe. But how can philosophy inspire cosmology? Will we ever know everything about the Universe, what do our models of its evolution really tell us, and what does the strange physics that underlies them mean?

Establishing the philosophy of cosmology is a joint project of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford bringing together philosophers and physicists to do just that. Plus has been following its progress. On this page you can find articles and podcasts based on interviews with participants in the project.


Is cosmology a science or a branch of philosophy? Mathematician and astronomer Bernard Carr gives some answers.

What gives an equation the right to call itself a law?

Why cosmologists worry about isolated brains that randomly fluctuate into existence.

George Ellis explains why the study of the cosmos poses some very deep questions.

In this podcast George Ellis explains why the study of the cosmos poses some deep philosophical questions.

Why (some) physicists want to modify Einstein's general theory of relativity.