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Categorical Generalization and Physical Structuralism

Teh, Nicholas and Lal, Raymond (2015) Categorical Generalization and Physical Structuralism. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Category theory has become central to certain aspects of theoretical physics.
\cite{Bain2011} has recently argued that this has significance for ontic structural realism.
We argue against this claim.
In so doing, we uncover two pervasive forms of category-theoretic generalization.
We call these `generalization by duality' and `generalization by categorifying physical processes'.
We describe in detail how these arise, and explain their significance using detailed examples.
We show that their significance is two-fold: the articulation of high-level physical concepts, and the generation of new models.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Teh, Nicholasnjywt2@cam.ac.uk
Lal, Raymondraymond.lal@cs.ox.ac.uk
Additional Information: Forthcoming in British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Keywords: Category Theory, Structural Realism, Einstein Algebras, Physical Generalization, TQFT, String Diagrams, Categorification, Ontology
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Depositing User: Dr Nicholas Teh
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2015 20:31
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2015 20:31
Item ID: 11425
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Date: 15 April 2015
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11425

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