Evidence of a Multiverse? Baylor Philosopher’s Article Among Top 10 Publications Recognized in Philosopher’s Annual
Contact: Randy Fiedler, Marketing and Communications, College of Arts & Sciences
WACO, Texas (Oct. 31, 2023) – Does a fine-tuned life provide evidence for a multiverse? A Baylor University philosophy professor’s co-authored article on the topic has been judged one of the best academic journal articles published in philosophy in 2022.
Yoaav Isaacs, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, along with co-authors John Hawthorne, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Russell, Ph.D., of the University of Southern California, had their article – Multiple Universes and Self-Locating Evidence – selected as one of the Top 10 journal articles included in the 2022 Philosopher’s Annual. The article grew out of research Isaacs is conducting under a grant from the Templeton Foundation.
“The list of nominating editors for the Philosopher’s Annual is a veritable who’s who of our discipline,” said Todd Buras, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of philosophy. “Just to have an article nominated is, in itself, a tremendous recognition. For Dr. Isaacs to have his article selected for the publication – well, that is an exceedingly rare accomplishment.”
“Receiving this award was a profound and unexpected pleasure,” Isaacs said. “I am deeply grateful to my co-authors, John Hawthorne and Jeff Russell, who are each extraordinary philosophers. It is truly a privilege to collaborate with them.”
Buras said the journal article written by Isaacs and his co-authors deals with a central issue within the field of philosophy – the existence of God.
“Yoaav’s essay addresses some of the thorniest issues in the philosophical literature on a major argument for the existence of God – the fine-tuning argument,” Buras said. “It is therefore not only an impactful work of the highest standard, it is first-rate work on issues of central importance to Christian, and broadly theistic, philosophy. The work is a real credit to Baylor, the very sort of work the University aspires to contribute to the academy.”
The original article was published in The Philosophical Review on July 1, 2022.
“Is the fact that our universe contains fine-tuned life evidence that we live in a multiverse? [Ian] Hacking (1987) and [Roger] White (2000) influentially argue that it is not,” Isaacs and his co-authors wrote in their journal abstract. “We approach this question through a systematic framework for self-locating epistemology. As it turns out, leading approaches to self-locating evidence agree that the fact that our own universe contains fine-tuned life indeed confirms the existence of a multiverse (at least in a suitably idealized setting). This convergence is no accident: we present two theorems showing that, in this setting, any updating rule that satisfies a few reasonable conditions will have the same feature. The conclusion that fine-tuned life provides evidence for a multiverse is hard to escape.”
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