Reconsidering the Inverse Gambler's Fallacy Charge Against the Fine-Tuning Argument for the Multiverse

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Does the claimed fine-tuning of the constants of nature for life give reason to think that there are many other universes in which the constants have different values (a "multiverse")? Or does the inference from fine-tuning to a multiverse commit what Hacking calls the inverse gambler's fallacy? The present paper considers two fine-tuning problems that seem promising to consider because they are in many respects analogous to the problem of the fine-tuned constants. Reasoning that parallels the inference from fine-tuning to a multiverse seems prima facie adequate in these problems. However, it turns out that in both cases there are independent empirical reasons to believe the hypotheses that are analogous to the multiverse hypothesis. In the absence of such evidence, it would be coherent to raise the inverse gambler's fallacy charge against the inference from fine-tuning to these multiverse-type hypotheses. In response to this finding, I suggest taking the possibility seriously that established standards of rationality may not allow us to decide whether the inference from fine-tuning to a multiverse is fallacious or not. The paper concludes by sceptically assessing the prospects for obtaining independent empirical evidence for concrete multiverse theories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-41
Number of pages13
JournalJournal for General Philosophy of Science
Issue number1
Early online date22-Jun-2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2019


  • Fine-tuning
  • Multiverse
  • Anthropic reasoning
  • Inverse gambler's fallacy

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