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  1. Sophistry About Symmetries?Niels C. M. Martens & James Read - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):315-344.
    A common adage runs that, given a theory manifesting symmetries, the syntax of that theory should be modified in order to construct a new theory, from which symmetry-variant structure of the original theory has been excised. Call this strategy for explicating the underlying ontology of symmetry-related models reduction. Recently, Dewar has proposed an alternative to reduction as a means of articulating the ontology of symmetry-related models—what he calls sophistication, in which the semantics of the original theory is modified, and symmetry-related (...)
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  • Motivating Dualities.James Read & Thomas Møller-Nielsen - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):263-291.
    There exists a common view that for theories related by a ‘duality’, dual models typically may be taken ab initio to represent the same physical state of affairs, i.e. to correspond to the same possible world. We question this view, by drawing a parallel with the distinction between ‘interpretational’ and ‘motivational’ approaches to symmetries.
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  • Interpretation and Equivalence; or, Equivalence and Interpretation.Neil Dewar - unknown
    Philosophers of science spend a lot of time “interpreting” scientific theories. In this paper, I try to get a handle on what it is they might be up to. My main contention is that a certain picture of interpretation is widespread in contemporary philosophy of science: a picture according to which interpretation of theories is relevantly analogous to the interpretation of foreign literature. On this picture, which we might call the external account of theory-interpretation, meaning is to be imported into (...)
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  • What Do Symmetries Tell Us About Structure?Thomas William Barrett - 2017 - Philosophy of Science (4):617-639.
    Mathematicians, physicists, and philosophers of physics often look to the symmetries of an object for insight into the structure and constitution of the object. My aim in this paper is to explain why this practice is successful. In order to do so, I present a collection of results that are closely related to (and in a sense, generalizations of) Beth’s and Svenonius’ theorems.
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  • Theoretical Equivalence and Duality.Sebastian De Haro - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5139-5177.
    Theoretical equivalence and duality are two closely related notions: but their interconnection has so far not been well understood. In this paper I explicate the contribution of a recent schema for duality to discussions of theoretical equivalence. I argue that duality suggests a construal of theoretical equivalence in the physical sciences. The construal is in terms of the isomorphism of models, as defined by the schema. This construal gives interpretative constraints that should be useful for discussions of theoretical equivalence more (...)
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  • On Representational Capacities, with an Application to General Relativity.Samuel C. Fletcher - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (4):228-249.
    Recent work on the hole argument in general relativity by Weatherall has drawn attention to the neglected concept of models’ representational capacities. I argue for several theses about the structure of these capacities, including that they should be understood not as many-to-one relations from models to the world, but in general as many-to-many relations constrained by the models’ isomorphisms. I then compare these ideas with a recent argument by Belot for the claim that some isometries “generate new possibilities” in general (...)
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  • Invariance or Equivalence: A Tale of Two Principles.Caspar Jacobs - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    The presence of symmetries in physical theories implies a pernicious form of underdetermination. In order to avoid this theoretical vice, philosophers often espouse a principle called Leibniz Equivalence, which states that symmetry-related models represent the same state of affairs. Moreover, philosophers have claimed that the existence of non-trivial symmetries motivates us to accept the Invariance Principle, which states that quantities that vary under a theory’s symmetries aren’t physically real. Leibniz Equivalence and the Invariance Principle are often seen as part of (...)
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  • On Symmetry and Duality.Sebastian De Haro & Jeremy Butterfield - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (4):2973-3013.
    We advocate an account of dualities between physical theories: the basic idea is that dual theories are isomorphic representations of a common core. We defend and illustrate this account, which we call a Schema, in relation to symmetries. Overall, the account meshes well with standard treatments of symmetries. But the distinction between the common core and the dual theories prompts a distinction between three kinds of symmetry: which we call ‘stipulated’, ‘accidental’ and ‘proper’.
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  • What Are Symmetries?David John Baker - unknown
    I advance a stipulational account of symmetries, according to which symmetries are part of the content of theories. For a theory to have a certain symmetry is for the theory to stipulate that models related by the symmetry represent the same possibility. I show that the stipulational account compares positively with alternatives, including Dasgupta's epistemic account of symmetry, Moller-Nielsen's motivational account, and so-called formal and ontic accounts. In particular, the stipulational account avoids the problems Belot and Dasgupta have raised against (...)
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  • Invariance, Interpretation, and Motivation.Thomas Møller-Nielsen - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1253-1264.
    In this article I assess the Invariance Principle, which states that only quantities that are invariant under the symmetries of our theories are physically real. I argue, contrary to current orthodoxy, that the variance of a quantity under a theory’s symmetries is not a sufficient basis for interpreting that theory as being uncommitted to the reality of that quantity. Rather, I argue, the variance of a quantity under symmetries only ever serves as a motivation to refrain from any commitment to (...)
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