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Duality and ontology

Read, James and Le Bihan, Baptiste (2018) Duality and ontology. [Preprint]

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Abstract

A 'duality' is a formal mapping between the spaces of solutions of two empirically equivalent theories. In recent times, dualities have been found to be pervasive in string theory and quantum field theory. Naïvely interpreted, duality-related theories appear to make very different ontological claims about the world---differing in e.g. spacetime structure, fundamental ontology, and mereological structure. In light of this, duality-related theories raise questions familiar from discussions of underdetermination in the philosophy of science: in the presence of dual theories, what is one to say about the ontology of the world? In this paper, we undertake a comprehensive and non-technical survey of the landscape of possible ontological interpretations of duality-related theories. We provide a significantly enriched and clarified taxonomy of options---several of which are novel to the literature.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Read, Jamesjames.read@philosophy.ox.ac.uk
Le Bihan, Baptistebaptiste.lebihan@unige.ch
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Philosophy Compass.
Keywords: Duality, ontology, interpretation, underdetermination, string theory
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Mr. James Read
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2018 01:19
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2018 01:19
Item ID: 14922
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 8 August 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14922

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