Authors
Elena Castellani
Università degli Studi di Firenze
Abstract
Weak/strong duality is usually accompanied by what seems a puzzling ontological feature: the fact that under this kind of duality what is viewed as 'elementary' in one description gets mapped to what is viewed as 'composite' in the dual description. This paper investigates the meaning of this apparent 'particle democracy', as it has been called, by adopting an historical approach. The aim is to clarify the nature of the correspondence between 'dual particles' in the light of an historical analysis of the developments of the idea of weak/strong duality, starting with Dirac's electric-magnetic duality and its successive generalizations in the context of field theory, to arrive at its first extension to string theory. This analysis is then used as evidential basis for discussing the 'elementary/composite' divide and, after taking another historical detour by analysing an instructive analogy case, drawing some conclusions on the particle-democracy issue.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2016.03.002
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References found in this work BETA

A Philosopher Looks at String Dualities.Dean Rickles - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 42 (1):54-67.
String Theory.Leonard Susskind - 2013 - Foundations of Physics 43 (1):174-181.

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On Symmetry and Duality.Sebastian De Haro & Jeremy Butterfield - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (4):2973-3013.

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