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Sophistry about symmetries?

Martens, Niels C.M. and Read, James (2020) Sophistry about symmetries? Synthese. ISSN 1573-0964

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Abstract

A common adage runs that, given a theory manifesting symmetries, the syntax of that theory should be modified in order to construct a new theory, from which symmetry-variant structure of the original theory has been excised. Call this strategy for explicating the underlying ontology of symmetry-related models reduction. Recently, Dewar has proposed an alternative to reduction as a means of articulating the ontology of symmetry-related models---what he calls (external) sophistication, in which the semantics of the original theory is modified, and symmetry-related models of that theory are treated as if they are isomorphic. In this paper, we undertake a critical evaluation of sophistication about symmetries---we find the programme underdeveloped in a number of regards. In addition, we clarify the interplay between sophistication about symmetries, and a separate debate to which Dewar has contributed---viz., that between interpretational
versus motivational approaches to symmetry transformations.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Martens, Niels C.M.nmartens@uni-bonn.de0000-0002-2839-1387
Read, Jamesjames.read@philosophy.ox.ac.uk
Keywords: Symmetry, symmetry-to-reality inferences, reduction, sophistication, interpretational and motivational approaches
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr Niels C.M. Martens
Date Deposited: 16 May 2020 17:52
Last Modified: 16 May 2020 17:52
Item ID: 17184
Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11229-020-02658-4
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s11229-020-02658-4
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 2020
ISSN: 1573-0964
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17184

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