Are Gauge Symmetry Transformations Observable?

In a recent paper in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Kosso discussed the observational status of continuous symmetries of physics. While we are in broad agreement with his approach, we disagree with his analysis. In the discussion of the status of gauge symmetry, a set of examples offered by ’t Hooft has influenced several philosophers, including Kosso; in all cases the interpretation of the examples is mistaken. In this paper we present our preferred approach to the empirical significance of symmetries, re-analysing the cases of gauge symmetry and general covariance.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/55.4.645
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S. Dasgupta (forthcoming). Symmetry as an Epistemic Notion. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axu049.
Ward Struyve (2011). Gauge Invariant Accounts of the Higgs Mechanism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (4):226-236.
Holger Lyre (2008). Does the Higgs Mechanism Exist? International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (2):119-133.
Holger Lyre (2004). Holism and Structuralism in (1) Gauge Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 35 (4):643-670.
Richard Healey (2009). Perfect Symmetries. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):697-720.

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