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Fundamentality, Effectiveness and Objectivity of Gauge Symmetries

Filomeno, Aldo (2016) Fundamentality, Effectiveness and Objectivity of Gauge Symmetries. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science.

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Abstract

Much recent philosophy of physics has investigated the process of symmetry breaking. Here, I critically assess the alleged symmetry restoration at the fundamental scale. I draw attention to the contingency that gauge symmetries exhibit, i.e. the fact that they have been chosen from among a countably infinite space of possibilities. I appeal to this feature of group theory to argue that any metaphysical account of fundamental laws that expects symmetry restoration up to the fundamental level is not fully satisfactory. This is a symmetry argument in line with Curie’s 1 st principle. Further, I argue that this same feature of group theory helps to explain the “unreasonable” effectiveness of (this subfield of) mathematics in (this subfield of) physics, and that it reduces the philosophical significance that has been attributed to the objectivity of gauge symmetries.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Filomeno, Aldoaldofilomeno@gmail.com
Keywords: Metaphysics of Fundamental Laws, Gauge Symmetry, Symmetry Restoration, Symmetry Arguments
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr. Aldo Filomeno
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2016 17:56
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2016 17:56
Item ID: 12245
Journal or Publication Title: International Studies in the Philosophy of Science
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 2016
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12245

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