Symmetries and the philosophy of language


Authors
Neil Dewar
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Abstract
In this paper, I consider the role of exact symmetries in theories of physics, working throughout with the example of gravitation set in Newtonian spacetime. First, I spend some time setting up a means of thinking about symmetries in this context; second, I consider arguments from the seeming undetectability of absolute velocities to an anti-realism about velocities; and finally, I claim that the structure of the theory licences us to interpret models which differ only with regards to the absolute velocities of objects as depicting the same physical state of affairs. In defending this last claim, I consider how ideas and resources from the philosophy of language may usefully be brought to bear on this topic.
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Reprint years 2015
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2015.09.004
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References found in this work BETA

What Scientific Theories Could Not Be.Hans Halvorson - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (2):183-206.
There is No Easy Road to Nominalism.M. Colyvan - 2010 - Mind 119 (474):285-306.
How to Define Theoretical Terms.David Lewis - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (13):427-446.
Regarding the ‘Hole Argument’.James Owen Weatherall - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw012.

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Citations of this work BETA

What Do Symmetries Tell Us About Structure?Thomas William Barrett - 2017 - Philosophy of Science (4):617-639.
Invariance, Interpretation, and Motivation.Thomas Møller-Nielsen - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1253-1264.

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