Philosophical Implications of Inflationary Cosmology

Research paper by Joshua Knobe, Ken D. Olum, Alexander Vilenkin

Indexed on: 26 Oct '05Published on: 26 Oct '05Published in: Physics - Physics and Society


Recent developments in cosmology indicate that every history having a nonzero probability is realized in infinitely many distinct regions of spacetime. Thus, it appears that the universe contains infinitely many civilizations exactly like our own, as well as infinitely many civilizations that differ from our own in any way permitted by physical laws. We explore the implications of this conclusion for ethical theory and for the doomsday argument. In the infinite universe, we find that the doomsday argument applies only to effects which change the average lifetime of all civilizations, and not those which affect our civilization alone.