Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Feraz Azhar (Cambridge): “Three aspects of typicality in multiverse cosmology”

14 November 2016, 5:15 pm6:45 pm

Abstract: Extracting predictions from cosmological theories that describe a multiverse, for what we are likely to observe in our domain, is crucial to establishing the validity of these theories. One way to extract such predictions is from theory-generated probability distributions that allow for selection effects – generally expressed in terms of assumptions about anthropic conditionalization and how typical we are. In this talk, I urge three lessons about typicality in multiverse settings. (i) Because it is difficult to characterize our observational situation in the multiverse, we cannot assume that we are typical (as in the “principle of mediocrity”): nor can we ignore the issue of typicality, for it has a measurable impact on predictions for our observations. (ii) There are spectra of assumptions about both conditionalization and typicality, which lead to coincident predictions for our observations, leading to problems of confirmation in multiverse cosmology. And moreover, (iii) when one has the freedom to consider competing theories of the multiverse, the assumption of typicality may not lead to the highest likelihoods for our observations. These three entwined aspects of typicality imply that positive assertions about our typicality, such as the principle of mediocrity, are more questionable than has been recently claimed.


14 November 2016
5:15 pm – 6:45 pm
Event Category:


Bryan W. Roberts


LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map