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Arguments from scientific practice in the debate about the physical equivalence of symmetry-related models

Luc, Joanna (2021) Arguments from scientific practice in the debate about the physical equivalence of symmetry-related models. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In the recent philosophical literature, several counterexamples to the interpretative principle that symmetry-related models are physically equivalent have been suggested (Belot 2013, Belot 2018, Fletcher 2020). Arguments based on these counterexamples can be understood as arguments from scientific practice of roughly the following form: because in scientific practice such-and-such symmetry-related models are treated as representing distinct physical situations, these models indeed represent distinct physical situations. In this paper, a strategy for analysing arguments of this type is presented and applied to the examples that can be found in the literature. I argue that if we are exclusively interested in models understood as representing entire possible worlds (not their subsystems), arguments from scientific practice should involve some additional assumptions to guarantee they are relevant for models understood in this way. However, none of the examples presented in the literature satisfy all these additional assumptions, which leads to the conclusion that arguments from scientific practice based on these examples do not undermine the interpretative principle that different symmetry-related models represent the same possible world.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Luc, Joannajoanna.luc.poczta@gmail.com0000-0003-2758-8230
Keywords: symmetries, physical equivalence, scientific practice
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Joanna Luc
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2021 05:22
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2021 05:22
Item ID: 19988
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19988

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