North, Jill (2009) The "Structure" of Physics: A Case Study. UNSPECIFIED.
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We are used to talking about the “structure” posited by a given theory of physics, such as the spacetime structure of relativity. What is “structure”? What does the mathematical structure used to formulate a theory tell us about the physical world according to the theory? What if there are different mathematical formulations of a given theory? Do different formulations posit different structures, or are they merely notational variants? I consider the case of Lagrangian and Hamiltonian classical mechanics. I argue that, contrary to standard wisdom, these are not genuinely equivalent theories: they differ in statespace structure. I suggest that we should be realists about statespace structure.
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|Keywords:||Structure; classical mechanics; statespace; Lagrangian mechanics; Hamiltonian mechanics.|
|Subjects:||Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics|
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Specific Sciences > Physics
|Depositing User:||Jill North|
|Date Deposited:||20 Oct 2009|
|Last Modified:||07 Oct 2010 11:18|
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