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Accepted manuscript

Λ and the limits of effective field theory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 April 2022

Adam Koberinski*
Affiliation:
Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
Chris Smeenk*
Affiliation:
Department of Philosophy and Rotman Institute of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 5BY, Canada
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Abstract

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The cosmological constant problem stems from treating quantum field theory and general relativity as an effective field theory (EFT). We argue that the problem is a reductio ad absurdum, and that one should reject the assumption that general relativity can generically be treated as an EFT. This marks a failure of naturalness, and an internal signal that EFT methods do not apply in all spacetime domains. We then take an external view, showing that the assumptions for using EFTs are violated in general relativistic domains where Λ is relevant. We highlight some ways forward that do not depend on naturalness.

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© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Philosophy of Science Association
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