Interpreting Supersymmetry

Erkenntnis 87 (5):2375-2396 (2020)
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Supersymmetry in quantum physics is a mathematically simple phenomenon that raises deep foundational questions. To motivate these questions, I present a toy model, the supersymmetric harmonic oscillator, and its superspace representation, which adds extra anticommuting dimensions to spacetime. I then explain and comment on three foundational questions about this superspace formalism: whether superspace is a substance, whether it should count as spatiotemporal, and whether it is a necessary postulate if one wants to use the theory to unify bosons and fermions.



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David Baker
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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Emergent spacetime and empirical (in) coherence.Nick Huggett & Christian Wüthrich - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):276-285.
Glymour and Quine on Theoretical Equivalence.Thomas William Barrett & Hans Halvorson - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 45 (5):467-483.
Newtonian Spacetime Structure in Light of the Equivalence Principle.Eleanor Knox - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):863-880.

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