Collapse Volume VI, 431–457


Philosophers’ Islands


Theoretical physics and cosmology over the last half century has provided a new context in which some of the most fundamental questions of philosophy find a new life and a new sense. In this new context, we find the recurrence of an image that spans the history of Western philosophy: that of the island.

If we think of the fundamental parameters that govern the laws of physics as the axes of a topographical space, a landscape of possible universes, then to our best knowledge, only a very small area of it is ‘habitable’ by life: We live on an island—or rather, life as we know it is itself an island…