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Invariance or Equivalence: a Tale of Two Principles

Jacobs, Caspar (2021) Invariance or Equivalence: a Tale of Two Principles. Synthese. ISSN 1573-0964

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Abstract

The presence of symmetries in physical theories implies a pernicious form of underdetermination. In order to avoid this theoretical vice, philosophers often espouse a principle called Leibniz Equivalence, which states that symmetry-related models represent the same state of affairs. Moreover, philosophers have claimed that the existence of non-trivial symmetries motivates us to accept the Invariance Principle, which states that quantities that vary under a theory's symmetries aren't physically real. Leibniz Equivalence and the Invariance Principle are often seen as part of the same package. I argue that this is a mistake: Leibniz Equivalence and the Invariance Principle are orthogonal to each other. This means that it is possible to hold that symmetry-related models represent the same state of affairs whilst having a realist attitude towards variant quantities. Various arguments have been presented in favour of the Invariance Principle: a rejection of the Invariance Principle is inter alia supposed to cause indeterminism, undetectability or failure of reference. I respond that these arguments at best support Leibniz Equivalence.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Jacobs, Casparcaspar.jacobs@philosophy.ox.ac.uk
Keywords: symmetries; invariance principle; leibniz equivalence; sophistication; reduction
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Caspar Jacobs
Date Deposited: 28 May 2021 01:45
Last Modified: 28 May 2021 01:45
Item ID: 19108
Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11229...
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s11229-021-03205-5
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 2021
ISSN: 1573-0964
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19108

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