The heuristic function of duality

Synthese:1-35 (2018)

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Abstract
I conceptualise the role of dualities in quantum gravity, in terms of their functions for theory construction. I distinguish between two functions of duality in physical practice: namely, discovering and describing ‘equivalent physics’, versus suggesting ‘new physics’. I dub these the ‘theoretical’ versus the ‘heuristic’ functions of dualities. The distinction seems to have gone largely unnoticed in the philosophical literature: and it exists both for dualities, and for the more general relation of theoretical equivalence. The paper develops the heuristic function of dualities: illustrating how they can be used, if one has any luck, to find and formulate new theories. I also point to the different physical commitments about the theories in question that underlie these two functions. I show how a recently developed schema for dualities articulates the differences between the two functions.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-1708-9
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References found in this work BETA

Emergent Spacetime and Empirical (in)Coherence.Nick Huggett & Christian Wüthrich - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):276-285.
Dualities and Emergent Gravity: Gauge/Gravity Duality.Sebastian de Haro - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59:109-125.

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Citations of this work BETA

Duality and Ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.
Interpreting Theories Without a Spacetime.Sebastian De Haro & Henk W. de Regt - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):631-670.

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