Reifying mathematics? Prediction and symmetry classification

In this paper I reconstruct and critically examine the reasoning leading to the famous prediction of the ‘omega minus’ particle by M. Gell-Mann and Y. Ne’eman (in 1962) on the basis of a symmetry classification scheme. While the peculiarity of this prediction has occasionally been noticed in the literature, a detailed treatment of the methodological problems it poses has not been offered yet. By spelling out the characteristics of this type of prediction, I aim to underscore the challenges raised by this episode to standard scientific methodology, especially to the traditional deductive-nomological account of prediction.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2007.09.003
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References found in this work BETA
Daniel Nolan (1997). Quantitative Parsimony. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):329-343.
Steven French (1999). Models and Mathematics in Physics: The Role of Group Theory. In Jeremy Butterfield & Constantine Pagonis (eds.), From Physics to Philosophy. Cambridge University Press 187--207.
Eric Scerri & John Worrall (2001). Prediction and the Periodic Table. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 32 (3):407-452.

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Citations of this work BETA
Sorin Bangu (2009). Wigner's Puzzle for Mathematical Naturalism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):245-263.

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