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Spacetime and Physical Equivalence

De Haro, Sebastian (2017) Spacetime and Physical Equivalence. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

In this essay I begin to lay out a conceptual scheme for: (i) analysing dualities as cases of theoretical equivalence; (ii) assessing when cases of theoretical equivalence are also cases of physical equivalence. The scheme is applied to gauge/gravity dualities. I expound what I argue to be their contribution to questions about: (iii) the nature of spacetime in quantum gravity; (iv) broader philosophical and physical discussions of spacetime.

(i)-(ii) proceed by analysing duality through four contrasts. A duality will be a suitable isomorphism between models: and the four relevant contrasts are as follows:

(a) Bare theory: a triple of states, quantities, and dynamics endowed with appropriate structures and symmetries; vs. interpreted theory: which is endowed with, in addition, a suitable pair of interpretative maps.

(b) Extendable vs. unextendable theories: which can, respectively cannot, be extended as regards their domains of application.

(c) External vs. internal intepretations: which are constructed, respectively, by coupling the theory to another interpreted theory vs. from within the theory itself.

(d) Theoretical vs. physical equivalence: which contrasts formal equivalence with the equivalence of fully interpreted theories.

I will apply this scheme to answering questions (iii)-(iv) for gauge/gravity dualities. I will argue that the things that are physically relevant are those that stand in a bijective correspondence under duality: the common core of the two models. I therefore conclude that most of the mathematical and physical structures that we are familiar with, in these models (the dimension of spacetime, tensor fields, Lie groups), are largely, though crucially never entirely, not part of that common core. Thus, the interpretation of dualities for theories of quantum gravity compels us to rethink the roles that spacetime, and many other tools in theoretical physics, play in theories of spacetime.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
De Haro, Sebastians.deharo@uva.nl0000-0002-3000-5967
Additional Information: Winner of the 2016-2017 essay contest "Space and Time After Quantum Gravity" of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Geneva.
Keywords: duality, spacetime, theoretical equivalence, physical equivalence, quantum gravity
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr Sebastian De Haro
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2017 14:00
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2017 14:00
Item ID: 13243
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 21 July 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13243

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