Sophistication about Symmetries

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):485-521 (2019)
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Abstract

Suppose that one thinks that certain symmetries of a theory reveal “surplus structure”. What would a formalism without that surplus structure look like? The conventional answer is that it would be a reduced theory: a theory which traffics only in structures invariant under the relevant symmetry. In this paper, I argue that there is a neglected alternative: one can work with a sophisticated version of the theory, in which the symmetries act as isomorphisms.

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Neil Dewar
Cambridge University

References found in this work

The metaphysics within physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science.Nancy Cartwright - 1999 - New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Ramseyan humility.David K. Lewis - 2009 - In David Braddon-Mitchell & Robert Nola (eds.), Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism. MIT Press. pp. 203-222.

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