Why surplus structure is not superfluous

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):665-695 (2018)
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The idea that gauge theory has `surplus' structure poses a puzzle: in one much discussed sense, this structure is redundant; but on the other hand, it is also widely held to play an essential role in the theory. In this paper, we employ category-theoretic tools to illuminate an aspect of this puzzle. We precisify what is meant by `surplus' structure by means of functorial comparisons with equivalence classes of gauge fields, and then show that such structure is essential for any theory that represents a rich collection of physically relevant fields which are `local' in nature.



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Author Profiles

Laura Wells
Southern New Hampshire University
James Nguyen
Stockholm University

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References found in this work

What Scientific Theories Could Not Be.Hans Halvorson - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (2):183-206.
Scientific representation.Roman Frigg & James Nguyen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Understanding Gauge.James Owen Weatherall - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):1039-1049.

View all 11 references / Add more references