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Motivating dualities

Synthese 197 (1):263-291 (2020)

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  1. Defining a Crisis: The Roles of Principles in the Search for a Theory of Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (Suppl 14):3489-3516.
    In times of crisis, when current theories are revealed as inadequate to task, and new physics is thought to be required—physics turns to re-evaluate its principles, and to seek new ones. This paper explores the various types, and roles of principles that feature in the problem of quantum gravity as a current crisis in physics. I illustrate the diversity of the principles being appealed to, and show that principles serve in a variety of roles in all stages of the crisis, (...)
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  • Spacetime Emergence in Quantum Gravity: Functionalism and the Hard Problem.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2019 - Synthese.
    Spacetime functionalism is the view that spacetime is a functional structure implemented by a more fundamental ontology. Lam and Wüthrich have recently argued that spacetime functionalism helps to solve the epistemological problem of empirical coherence in quantum gravity and suggested that it also (dis)solves the hard problem of spacetime, namely the problem of offering a picture consistent with the emergence of spacetime from a non-spatio-temporal structure. First, I will deny that spacetime functionalism solves the hard problem by showing that it (...)
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  • Teaching & Learning Guide For: Duality and Ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.
    Dualities are a pervasive phenomenon in contemporary physics, in which two physical theories are empirically equivalent, yet prima facie make different ontological claims about the world (potentially very different claims—differing in e.g. the number and radius of dimensions of the universe). Dualities thus present a particular instantiation of the well-known notion of underdetermination of theory by evidence. Many different philosophical proposals have been made for how such putative underdetermination might be resolved—this continues to be a programme of active research.
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  • As Below, so Before: ‘Synchronic’ and ‘Diachronic’ Conceptions of Spacetime Emergence.Karen Crowther - 2020 - Synthese 198 (8):7279-7307.
    Typically, a less fundamental theory, or structure, emerging from a more fundamental one is an example of synchronic emergence. A model emerging from a prior model upon which it nevertheless depends is an example of diachronic emergence. The case of spacetime emergent from quantum gravity and quantum cosmology challenges these two conceptions of emergence. Here, I propose two more-general conceptions of emergence, analogous to the synchronic and diachronic ones, but which are potentially applicable to the case of emergent spacetime: an (...)
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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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  • The Empirical Under-Determination Argument Against Scientific Realism for Dual Theories.Sebastian De Haro - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-29.
    This paper explores the options available to the anti-realist to defend a Quinean empirical under-determination thesis using examples of dualities. I first explicate a version of the empirical under-determination thesis that can be brought to bear on theories of contemporary physics. Then I identify a class of examples of dualities that lead to empirical under-determination. But I argue that the resulting under-determination is benign, and is not a threat to a cautious scientific realism. Thus dualities are not new ammunition for (...)
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  • Sophistry about symmetries?Niels C. M. Martens & James Read - forthcoming - Synthese:1-30.
    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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  • On the Status of Newtonian Gravitational Radiation.Niels Linnemann & James Read - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (2):1-16.
    We discuss the status of gravitational radiation in Newtonian theories. In order to do so, we consider various options for interpreting the Poisson equation as encoding propagating solutions, reflect on the extent to which limit considerations from general relativity can shed light on the Poisson equation’s conceptual status, and discuss various senses in which the Poisson equation counts as a dynamical equation.
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  • Theory (In-)Equivalence and Conventionalism in F(R) Gravity.Patrick M. Duerr - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 88:10-29.
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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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  • Duality and Ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.
    A ‘duality’ is a formal mapping between the spaces of solutions of two empirically equivalent theories. In recent times, dualities have been found to be pervasive in string theory and quantum field theory. Naïvely interpreted, duality-related theories appear to make very different ontological claims about the world—differing in e.g. space-time structure, fundamental ontology, and mereological structure. In light of this, duality-related theories raise questions familiar from discussions of underdetermination in the philosophy of science: in the presence of dual theories, what (...)
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  • Machian Comparativism About Mass.Niels C. M. Martens - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz013.
    Absolutism about mass within Newtonian gravity claims that mass ratios obtain in virtue of absolute masses. Comparativism denies this. Defenders of comparativism promise to recover all the empirical and theoretical virtues of absolutism, but at a lower ‘metaphysical cost’. This article develops a Machian form of comparativism about mass in Newtonian gravity, obtained by replacing Newton’s constant in the law of universal gravitation by another constant divided by the sum over all masses. Although this form of comparativism is indeed empirically (...)
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  • Gravitational Energy in Newtonian Gravity: A Response to Dewar and Weatherall.Patrick M. Duerr & James Read - 2019 - Foundations of Physics 49 (10):1086-1110.
    The paper investigates the status of gravitational energy in Newtonian Gravity, developing upon recent work by Dewar and Weatherall. The latter suggest that gravitational energy is a gauge quantity. This is potentially misleading: its gauge status crucially depends on the spacetime setting one adopts. In line with Møller-Nielsen’s plea for a motivational approach to symmetries, we supplement Dewar and Weatherall’s work by discussing gravitational energy–stress in Newtonian spacetime, Galilean spacetime, Maxwell-Huygens spacetime, and Newton–Cartan Theory. Although we ultimately concur with Dewar (...)
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  • Spacetime in String Theory: A Conceptual Clarification.Keizo Matsubara & Lars-Göran Johansson - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):333-353.
    In this paper, some conceptual issues are addressed in order to make sense of what string theory is supposed to tell us about spacetime. The dualities in string theory are used as a starting point for our argumentation. We explore the consequences of a standard view towards these dualities, namely that the dual descriptions represent the same physical situation. Given this view, one has to understand string theory in a manner such that what counts as physical spacetime is based only (...)
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  • Theoretical Equivalence in Physics.James Owen Weatherall - unknown
    I review the philosophical literature on the question of when two physical theories are equivalent. This includes a discussion of empirical equivalence, which is often taken to be necessary, and sometimes taken to be sufficient, for theoretical equivalence; and "interpretational" equivalence, which is the idea that two theories are equivalent just in case they have the same interpretation. It also includes a discussion of several formal notions of equivalence that have been considered in the recent philosophical literature, including definitional equivalence (...)
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  • Part 2: Theoretical Equivalence in Physics.James Owen Weatherall - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (5).
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