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Dualities and intertheoretic relations

Castellani, Elena (2009) Dualities and intertheoretic relations. In: UNSPECIFIED.


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This is the first of two papers concerned with the philosophical significance of dualities as applied in recent fundamental physics. The general idea is that, for its peculiarity, this ‘new’ ingredient in theory construction can open unexpected perspectives in the current philosophical reflection on contemporary physics. In particular, today’s physical dualities represent an unusual type of intertheory relation, the meaning of which deserves to be investigated. The aim is to show how discussing this point brings into play, at the same time, what is intended by a 'theory’ and in which sense dualities are to be considered 'symmetries' (if they are). This paper is introductory and focusses on the first form of duality explicitly applied in twentieth century physics, that is electromagnetic duality as discussed in Dirac’s theory of magnetic poles (1931, 1948). The extension of electromagnetic duality in the context of quantum field theory and string theory is explored in a forthcoming companion paper.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Castellani, Elena
Keywords: Physical dualities, electromagnetic duality, symmetry, intertheoretic relations, Dirac's theory of magnetic poles
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Depositing User: Elena Castellani
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2009
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:18
Item ID: 4679

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