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A puzzle concerning local symmetries and their empirical significance

Murgueitio Ramírez, Sebastián (2020) A puzzle concerning local symmetries and their empirical significance. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. ISSN 1464-3537

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Abstract

In the last five years, the controversy about whether or not gauge transformations can be empirically significant has intensified. On the one hand, Greaves and Wallace (2014) developed a framework according to which, under some circumstances, gauge transformations can be empirically significant---and Teh (2015) further supported this result by using the Constrained Hamiltonian formalism. On the other hand, Friederich (2015, 2016) claims to have proved that gauge transformation can never be empirically significant. In this paper, I accomplish two tasks. First, I argue that there are strong reasons to resist Friederich's proof because one of its assumptions is, at the very least, highly controversial. Second, I argue that, despite criticism by Brading and Brown (2004) and Friederich (2015), 't Hooft's Beam-Splitter experiment is indeed a concrete example of a case where a local gauge symmetry has empirical significance. By shedding light on these two points, this paper shows that recent arguments that claim gauge transformations cannot be empirically significant are not satisfactory.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Murgueitio Ramírez, Sebastiánsmurguei@nd.edu0000-0003-0035-0150
Keywords: Symmetry gauge transformations empirical significance
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Sebastian Murgueitio Ramirez
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2020 22:46
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2020 22:46
Item ID: 17002
Journal or Publication Title: The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 13 March 2020
ISSN: 1464-3537
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17002

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