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Process Studies

Volume 40, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2011

Leemon McHenry
Pages 5-24
DOI: 10.5840/process20114011

The Multiverse Conjecture
Whitehead’s Cosmic Epochs and Contemporary Cosmology

Recent developments in cosmology and particle physics have led to speculation that our universe is merely one of a multitude of universes. While this notion, the multiverse hypothesis, is highly contested as legitimate science, it has nonetheless struck many physicists as a necessary consequence of the effort to construct a final, unified theory. In Process and Reality (1929), his magnum opus, Alfred North Whitehead advanced a cosmology as part of his general metaphysics of process. Part of this project involved a theory of cosmic epochs which bears a remarkable affinity to current cosmological speculation. This paper demonstrates how the basic framework of a multiverse theory is already present in Whitehead’s cosmology and defends the necessity of speculation in the quest for an explanatory description.