It is known that the physicist John Archibald Wheeler proposed the existence of a multiverse in the form of a set of cycles of Big Bangs and Big Crunches (Cyclic/Oscillatory Multiverse Model).

But I have found some evidence that indicates that, like the philosopher Robert Nozick, he was also a proponent of a multiverse where multiple universes with fundamentally different laws of nature would exist simultaneously.

In science historian Helge Kragh's book "Higher Speculations: Grand Theories and Failed Revolutions in Physics and Cosmology", it is said at the end of chapter 10, in the notes, that Wheeler's ideas and Nozick's Principle of Plenitude are related, and both of them are also related to the multiverse hypothesis

Nozick 1981, p. 129. The fecundity assumption is related to the principle of plenitude, but the latter refers only to the realization of possibilities in the actual world we live in. Whereas Nozick did not mention the anthropic principle, he did refer to Wheeler’s speculations of many universes with different laws of physics

This caught my attention, since I was told some years ago by a biographer of Wheeler's work and life, that he did not like the idea of having multiple universes existing in a hypothetical multiverse (he did not even like his student's thesis at all (Everett's many-worlds interpretation) because of this)

Also, as indicated in a Nature article by Rees and Carr in 1979, and in this book.:

Wheeler envisages an infinite ensemble if universes, all with different coupling constants. Most of these universes are completely uninteresting; only those which start off with the right coupling constants become "aware of themselves"

I have contacted with Helge Kragh and he told me that Nozick referred to "Everett-Wheeler's Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics"

But how can this be true? Why did Nozick refer to Everett and Wheeler's many worlds interpretation if their universes would not have different fundamental laws?

I mean according to this interpretation all universes would have the same fundamental laws, so all of this does not make much sense to me.

So, how can all of this be compatible? Did Wheeler propose any kind or alternative version to the "traditional" MWI where universes would have fundamental different laws and rules?

  • $\begingroup$ I'm wondering if it would even make sense to apply the word "simultaneously" to this case because it is not at all clear what kind of synchronicity can exist between two separate universes, if at all. As we know, time is an intrinsic property of time-space of some universe, not necessarily in any way correlating with any other universe's time-space. $\endgroup$
    – sequence
    Aug 7, 2019 at 13:38


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