Curie's principle and spontaneous symmetry breaking

Abstract
In 1894 Pierre Curie announced what has come to be known as Curie's Principle: the asymmetry of effects must be found in their causes. In the same publication Curie discussed a key feature of what later came to be known as spontaneous symmetry breaking: the phenomena generally do not exhibit the symmetries of the laws that govern them. Philosophers have long been interested in the meaning and status of Curie's Principle. Only comparatively recently have they begun to delve into the mysteries of spontaneous symmetry breaking. The present paper aims to advance the discussion of both of these twin topics by tracing their interaction in classical physics, ordinary quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. The features of spontaneous symmetry that are peculiar to quantum field theory have received scant attention in the philosophical literature. These features are highlighted here, along with an explanation of why Curie's Principle, though valid in quantum field theory, is nearly vacuous in that context.
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DOI 10.1080/0269859042000311299
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References found in this work BETA
Christopher A. Martin (2002). Gauge Principles, Gauge Arguments and the Logic of Nature. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S221-S234.
Katherine Bracing & Harvey R. Brown (2003). Symmetries and Noether's Theorems. In Katherine A. Brading & Elena Castellani (eds.), Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections. Cambridge University Press 89.
A. F. Chalmers (1970). Curie's Principle. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 21 (2):133-148.

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Citations of this work BETA
Koray Karaca (2013). The Construction of the Higgs Mechanism and the Emergence of the Electroweak Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (1):1-16.
Holger Lyre (2008). Does the Higgs Mechanism Exist? International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (2):119-133.

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