Synthese 94 (2):245 - 290 (1993)
It has been argued that the fundamental laws of physics are deceitful in that they give the impression of greater unity and coherence in our theories than is actually found to be the case. Causal stories and phenomenological relationships are claimed to provide a more acceptable account of the world, and only theoretical entities — not laws — are considered as perhaps corresponding to real features of the world.This paper examines these claims in the light of the author's own field of research: high energy physics. Some of the distinctions upon which the above conclusions are based are found not to be tenable in practice. Examples from experimental particle physics are presented which suggest an important role of the underlying theoretical structure which cannot be overlooked. It is argued that the fundamental theories must, in fact, be treated as being as worthy or unworthy of ontological commitment as the entities they postulate or the phenomenological relationships they inspire. Whilst it is conceded that aspects of the current theoretical formalism belie literal interpretation, it is maintained that revision in these particular areas need not affect the symmetry principles, particle spectra, or coupling strengths that largely determine the empirical content of the theory.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics: Collected Papers on Quantum Philosophy.J. S. Bell - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays.Martin Heidegger - 1977 - Harper & Row.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
The Fundamental Laws of Physics Can Tell the Truth.Renat Nugayev - 1991 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 5 (1):79 – 87.
In Defense of Psychological Laws.Martin Carrier - 1998 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (3):217 – 232.
A Note on Fundamental Theory and Idealizations in Economics and Physics.Hans Lind - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):493-503.
Causation with a Human Face.James Woodward - 2007 - In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
The Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do the Laws of Physics Come From?Victor J. Stenger - 2006 - Prometheus Books.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads165 ( #27,955 of 2,170,012 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #345,417 of 2,170,012 )
How can I increase my downloads?