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  1. Pluralist Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?David Glick - forthcoming - Synthese.
    John Worrall (1989) famously claimed that structural realism is the best of both worlds; it enables one to endorse the best arguments for scientific realism and antirealism. In this paper, I argue that structural realism also enables one to combine two other seemingly inconsistent positions: realism and pluralism. Indeed, the very features which form the basis of the structural realist’s reply to the problem of theory change may be applied synchronically to allow for a pluralist structural realism. The resulting position (...)
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  • Entities Without Intrinsic Physical Identity.Vincent Lam - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (5):1157-1171.
    This paper critically discusses recent objections that have been raised against the contextual understanding of fundamental physical objects advocated by non-eliminative ontic structural realism. One of these recent objections claims that such a purely relational understanding of objects cannot account for there being a determinate number of them. A more general objection concerns a well-known circularity threat: relations presuppose the objects they relate and so cannot account for them. A similar circularity objection has also been raised within the framework of (...)
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  • From Ontic Structural Realism to Metaphysical Coherentism.Matteo Morganti - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):1-20.
    The present paper argues that the typical structuralist claims according to which invariances, symmetries and the like are fundamental – especially in physics – should not be understood in terms of physical relations being fundamental. Rather, they should be understood in terms of ‘metaphysical coherentism’ - the idea that object-like parts of reality exhibit symmetric relations of ontological dependence. The view is developed in some detail, in particular by showing that i) symmetric ontological dependence does not necessarily lead to uninformative (...)
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  • Conceptual Foundations of Yang–Mills Theories. [REVIEW]Alexandre Guay - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (3):687-693.
    Essay review of Gauging What’s Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Contemporary Gauge Theories R. Healey. Oxford University Press (2007). To be published in the Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 39(3):687-693, 2008.
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  • Ontic Structural Realism.Kerry McKenzie - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (4):e12399.
    Ontic structural realism is at its core the view that “structure is ontologically fundamental.” Informed from its inception by the scientific revolutions that punctuated the 20th century, its advocates often present the position as the perspective on ontology best befitting of modern physics. But the idea that structure is fundamental has proved difficult to articulate adequately, and what OSR's claimed naturalistic credentials consist in is hard to precisify as well. Nor is it clear that the position is actually supported by (...)
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  • How Properties Hold Together in Substances.Joseph E. Earley - 2016 - In Eric Scerri & Grant Fisher (eds.), Essays in Philosophy of Chemistry. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 199-216.
    This article aims to clarify how aspects of current chemical understanding relate to some important contemporary problems of philosophy. The first section points out that the long-running philosophical debates concerning how properties stay together in substances have neglected the important topic of structure-determining closure. The second part describes several chemically-important types of closure and the third part shows how such closures ground the properties of chemical substances. The fourth section introduces current discussions of structural realism (SR) and contextual emergence: the (...)
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  • Weyl’s Gauge Argument.Alexander Afriat - 2013 - Foundations of Physics 43 (5):699-705.
    The standard $\mathbb{U}(1)$ “gauge principle” or “gauge argument” produces an exact potential A=dλ and a vanishing field F=d 2 λ=0. Weyl (in Z. Phys. 56:330–352, 1929; Rice Inst. Pam. 16:280–295, 1929) has his own gauge argument, which is sketchy, archaic and hard to follow; but at least it produces an inexact potential A and a nonvanishing field F=dA≠0. I attempt a reconstruction.
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  • Group Structural Realism.Bryan W. Roberts - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):47-69.
    We present a precise form of structural realism, called group structural realism , which identifies ‘structure’ in quantum theory with symmetry groups. However, working out the details of this view actually illuminates a major problem for structural realism; namely, a structure can itself have structure. This article argues that, once a precise characterization of structure is given, the ‘metaphysical hierarchy’ on which group structural realism rests is overly extravagant and ultimately unmotivated.
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  • Symmetry, Empirical Equivalence, and Identity.Simon Friederich - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):537-559.
    The article proposes a novel approach to the much discussed question of which symmetries have ‘direct empirical significance’ and which do not. The approach is based on a development of a recently proposed framework by Hilary Greaves and David Wallace, who claim that, contrary to the standard folklore among philosophers of physics, ‘local’ symmetries may have direct empirical significance no less than ‘global’ ones. Partly vindicating the standard folklore, a result is derived here from a number of plausible assumptions, that (...)
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  • Priority and Particle Physics: Ontic Structural Realism as a Fundamentality Thesis.Kerry McKenzie - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):353-380.
    In this article, I address concerns that the ontological priority claims definitive of ontic structural realism are as they stand unclear, and I do so by placing these claims on a more rigorous formal footing than they typically have been hitherto. I first of all argue that Kit Fine’s analysis of ontological dependence furnishes us with an ontological priority relation that is particularly apt for structuralism. With that in place, and with reference to two case studies prominent within the structuralist (...)
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  • A Scientific Metaphysical Naturalisation of Information.Bruce Long - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Sydney
    The objective of this thesis is to present a naturalised metaphysics of information, or to naturalise information, by way of deploying a scientific metaphysics according to which contingency is privileged and a-priori conceptual analysis is excluded (or at least greatly diminished) in favour of contingent and defeasible metaphysics. The ontology of information is established according to the premises and mandate of the scientific metaphysics by inference to the best explanation, and in accordance with the idea that the primacy of physics (...)
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  • Scientific Realism and High Energy Physics.Richard Dawid - 2018 - In Juha Saatsi (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism. Routledge. pp. 279-290.
    The paper discusses major implications of high energy physics for the scientific realism debate. The first part analyses the ways in which aspects of the empirically well-confirmed standard model of particle physics are relevant for a reassessment of entity realism, ontological realism and structural realism. The second part looks at the implications of more far-reaching concepts like string theory. While those theories have not found empirical confirmation, if they turned out viable, their implications for the realism debate would be more (...)
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  • Does the Higgs Mechanism Exist?Holger Lyre - 2008 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (2):119-133.
    This paper explores the argument structure of the concept of spontaneous symmetry breaking in the electroweak gauge theory of the Standard Model: the so-called Higgs mechanism. As commonly understood, the Higgs argument is designed to introduce the masses of the gauge bosons by a spontaneous breaking of the gauge symmetry of an additional field, the Higgs field. The technical derivation of the Higgs mechanism, however, consists in a mere reshuffling of degrees of freedom by transforming the Higgs Lagrangian in a (...)
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  • Fundamentality, Effectiveness, and Objectivity of Gauge Symmetries.Aldo Filomeno - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):19-37.
    UNOFFICIAL ABSTRACT It is not clear (to me at least) whether certain metaphysical questions really demand explanation. In this article I propose an argument for why fundamental laws of nature (of a form similar to those of the Standard Model) would welcome an explanation. The argument relies on Curie's first principle and on a feature of the current laws of particle physics. I also argue that this feature allows us to understand the ``unreasonable'' effectiveness of mathematics in physics (5.2) and (...)
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  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Structural Realism but Were Afraid to Ask.Roman Frigg & Ioannis Votsis - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):227-276.
    Everything you always wanted to know about structural realism but were afraid to ask Content Type Journal Article Pages 227-276 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0025-7 Authors Roman Frigg, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE UK Ioannis Votsis, Philosophisches Institut, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, Geb. 23.21/04.86, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 2.
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  • Is Structural Underdetermination Possible?Holger Lyre - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):235 - 247.
    Structural realism is sometimes said to undermine the theory underdetermination (TUD) argument against realism, since, in usual TUD scenarios, the supposed underdetermination concerns the object-like theoretical content but not the structural content. The paper explores the possibility of structural TUD by considering some special cases from modern physics, but also questions the validity of the TUD argument itself. The upshot is that cases of structural TUD cannot be excluded, but that TUD is perhaps not such a terribly serious anti-realistic argument.
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  • Reconciling Spacetime and the Quantum: Relational Blockworld and the Quantum Liar Paradox. [REVIEW]William Mark Stuckey, Michael Silbserstein & Michael Cifone - 2008 - Foundations of Physics 38 (4):348-383.
    The Relational Blockworld (RBW) interpretation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics (NRQM) is introduced. Accordingly, the spacetime of NRQM is a relational, non-separable blockworld whereby spatial distance is only defined between interacting trans-temporal objects. RBW is shown to provide a novel statistical interpretation of the wavefunction that deflates the measurement problem, as well as a geometric account of quantum entanglement and non-separability that satisfies locality per special relativity and is free of interpretative mystery. We present RBW’s acausal and adynamical resolution of the (...)
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  • Structural Realism and Abductive-Transcendental Arguments.Holger Lyre - 2007 - In P. Kerszberg, J. Petitot & M. Bitbol (eds.), Constituting Objectivity. Transcendental Perspectives on Modern Physics.
    The paper deals with an attempt to present an “abductive-transcendental” argument in favour of a particular version of structural realism (SR), dubbed Intermediate SR. In the first part of the paper the general structure of transcendental arguments is scrutinized with a close view on Kant’s original version and the prospect of their abductive variation. Then the role of symmetries in modern physics, especially symmetries without real instantiations and in particular gauge symmetries is discussed. This is combined with a presentation of (...)
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  • Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination.Kerry McKenzie - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx061.
    Ontic structural realism is at its core a thesis of fundamentality metaphysics: the thesis that structure, not objects, is endowed with fundamental status. Claimed both as the metaphysic most befitting of modern physics and radically at odds with more mainstream views, OSR first emerged as an entreaty to eliminate objects from our scheme of fundamental metaphysics. But an alternative view that physics does sanction objects, albeit merely as ontologically secondary entities, represents a different and seemingly less extreme route to the (...)
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  • Sameness and Separability in Gauge Theories.John Dougherty - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1189-1201.
    In the philosophical literature on Yang-Mills theories, field formulations are taken to have more structure and to be local, while curve-based formulations are taken to have less structure and to be nonlocal. I formalize the notion of locality at issue and show that theories with less structure are nonlocal. However, the amount of structure had by some formulation is independent of whether it uses fields or curves. The relevant difference in structure is not a difference in set-theoretic structure. Rather, it (...)
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  • The Place of Philosophy of Physics in Physics and Philosophy: A Response to Michael Dummett.Holger Lyre - 2012 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 8 (1):120-132.
    The paper is an attempt to react as direct and as close as possible on Dummett’s 2007 paper by addressing his overall theses about bridging the gulfs between philosophers and physicists and between analytical and continental philosophy on the one hand and, on the other hand, picking up a couple of more detailed issues Dummett raises about physics and its philosophy.
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  • What is Ontic Structural Realism?Peter Mark Ainsworth - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):50-57.
  • Gauge Symmetry Breaking in Gauge Theories—in Search of Clarification.Simon Friederich - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (2):157-182.
    The paper investigates the spontaneous breaking of gauge symmetries in gauge theories from a philosophical angle, taking into account the fact that the notion of a spontaneously broken local gauge symmetry, though widely employed in textbook expositions of the Higgs mechanism, is not supported by our leading theoretical frameworks of gauge quantum theories. In the context of lattice gauge theory, the statement that local gauge symmetry cannot be spontaneously broken can even be made rigorous in the form of Elitzur’s theorem. (...)
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  • Two Approaches to Fractional Statistics in the Quantum Hall Effect: Idealizations and the Curious Case of the Anyon.Elay Shech - 2015 - Foundations of Physics 45 (9):1063-1100.
    This paper looks at the nature of idealizations and representational structures appealed to in the context of the fractional quantum Hall effect, specifically, with respect to the emergence of anyons and fractional statistics. Drawing on an analogy with the Aharonov–Bohm effect, it is suggested that the standard approach to the effects— the topological approach to fractional statistics—relies essentially on problematic idealizations that need to be revised in order for the theory to be explanatory. An alternative geometric approach is outlined and (...)
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  • Scientific Structuralism: On the Identity and Diversity of Objects in a Structure.James Ladyman - 2007 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):23–43.
  • Ontic Structuralism and the Symmetries of Particle Physics.Aharon Kantorovich - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (1):73-84.
    According to structural realism, in mature science there is structural continuity along theoretical change. A major counterexample to this thesis is the transition from the Eightfold Way to the Standard Model in particle physics. Nevertheless, the notion of structure is significantly important in comprehending the theoretical picture of particle physics, where particles change and undergo transmutations, while the only thing which remains unchanged is the basic structure, i.e. the symmetry group which controls the transmutations. This kind of view agrees with (...)
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  • Structuralism with and Without Causation.Juha Saatsi - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2255-2271.
    This paper explores the status of causation in structuralist metaphysics of physics. What role (if any) does causation play in understanding ‘structure’ in ontological structural realism? I address this question by examining, in a structuralist setting, arguments for and against the idea that fundamental physics deals, perhaps exclusively, with causal properties. I will argue (against Esfeld, Dorato and others) that a structuralist interpretation of fundamental physics should diverge from ‘causal structuralism’. Nevertheless, causation outside fundamental physics, and the basic motivation for (...)
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  • For or Against Structural Realism? A Verdict From High Energy Physics.Antigone M. Nounou - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 49:84-101.
  • Fiber Bundles, Yang–Mills Theory, and General Relativity.James Weatherall - 2016 - Synthese 193 (8).
    I articulate and discuss a geometrical interpretation of Yang–Mills theory. Analogies and disanalogies between Yang–Mills theory and general relativity are also considered.
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  • Conditions May Apply.Paul Dicken - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):290-293.
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  • What is Ontic Structural Realism?Peter Mark Ainsworth - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):50-57.
  • Berry Phase and Quantum Structure.Holger Lyre - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 48 (1):45-51.
  • The Variety of Explanations in the Higgs Sector.Michael Stöltzner - 2017 - Synthese 194 (2).
    This paper argues that there is no single universal conception of scientific explanation that is consistently employed throughout the whole domain of Higgs physics—ranging from the successful experimental search for a standard model Higgs particle and the hitherto unsuccessful searches for any particles beyond the standard model, to phenomenological model builders in the Higgs sector and theoretical physicists interested in how the core principles of quantum field theory apply to spontaneous symmetry breaking and the Higgs mechanism. Yet the coexistence of (...)
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  • I—James Ladyman: On the Identity and Diversity of Objects in a Structure.James Ladyman - 2007 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):23-43.
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  • Gauge Pressure. [REVIEW]Dean Rickles, Chris Smeenk, Holger Lyre & Richard Healey - 2009 - Metascience 18 (1):5-41.
    Symposium review of Richard Healey, Gauging What’s Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Contemporary Gauge Theories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Pp. 297. $99.00 HB.
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