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The Gauge Argument: A Noether Reason

Gomes, Henrique and Roberts, Bryan W. and Butterfield, Jeremy (2021) The Gauge Argument: A Noether Reason. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Why is gauge symmetry so important in modern physics, given that one must eliminate it when interpreting what the theory represents? In this paper we discuss the sense in which gauge symmetry can be fruitfully applied to constrain the space of possible dynamical models in such a way that forces and charges are appropriately coupled. We review the most well-known application of this kind, known as the ‘gauge argument’ or ‘gauge principle’, discuss its difficulties, and then reconstruct the gauge argument as a valid theorem in quantum theory. We then present what we take to be a better and more general gauge argument, based on Noether’s second theorem in classical Lagrangian field theory, and argue that this provides a more appropriate framework for understanding how gauge symmetry helps to constrain the dynamics of physical theories.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Gomes, Henriquegomes.ha@gmail.com0000-0002-9285-0090
Roberts, Bryan W.b.w.roberts@lse.ac.uk0000-0003-0548-1280
Butterfield, Jeremyjb56@cam.ac.uk0000-0002-0215-5802
Additional Information: Forthcoming in ‘The Physics and Philosophy of Noether’s Theorems’, edited by J. Read, B. Roberts and N. Teh, Cambridge University Press
Keywords: gauge symmetry, gauge theories, Noether’s theorems, the gauge argument, minimal coupling
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Jeremy Butterfield
Date Deposited: 25 May 2021 01:36
Last Modified: 25 May 2021 01:36
Item ID: 19099
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: May 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19099

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