The Clock Ambiguity and the Emergence of Physical Laws

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The “clock ambiguity” is a general feature of standard formulations of quantum gravity, as well as a much wider class of theoretical frameworks. The clock ambiguity completely undermines any attempt at uniquely specifying laws of physics at the fundamental level. In this talk I explain in simple terms how the clock ambiguity arises. I then present a number of concrete results which suggest that a statistical approach to physical laws could allow sharp predictions to emerge despite the clock ambiguity. Along the way, I get to ask some interesting questions about what we expect of fundamental laws of physics, and give some surprising answers.