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Equivalence and Duality in Electromagnetism

Weatherall, James (2019) Equivalence and Duality in Electromagnetism. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In this paper I bring the recent philosophical literature on theoretical equivalence to bear on dualities in physics. Focusing on electromagnetic duality, which is a simple example of S-duality in string theory, I will show that the duality fits naturally into at least one framework for assessing equivalence---that of categorical equivalence---but that it fails to meet a necessary condition for equivalence on that account. The reason is that the duality does not preserve "empirical content" in the required sense; instead, it takes models to models with "dual" empirical content. I conclude by discussing how one might react to this.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Weatherall, Jamesweatherj@uci.edu
Keywords: duality, s-duality, equivalence, categorical equivalence, empirical equivalence, electromagnetic duality
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: James Owen Weatherall
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2020 04:09
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2020 04:09
Item ID: 18417
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18417

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