A physically consistent semi-classical treatment of black holes requires universality arguments to deal with the ‘trans-Planckian’ problem where quantum spacetime effects appear to be amplified such that they undermine the entire semi-classical modelling framework. We evaluate three families of such arguments in comparison with Wilsonian renormalization group universality arguments found in the context of condensed matter physics. Our analysis is framed by the crucial distinction between robustness and universality. Particular emphasis is placed on the quality whereby the various arguments are underpinned by ‘integrated’ notions of robustness and universality. Whereas the principal strength of Wilsonian universality arguments can be understood in terms of the presence of such integration, the principal weakness of all three universality arguments for Hawking radiation is its absence.
- Centre for Science and Philosophy