Classical spontaneous symmetry breaking

Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1219-1232 (2003)
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This paper aims at answering the simple question, “What is spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) in classical systems?” I attempt to do this by analyzing from a philosophical perspective a simple classical model which exhibits some of the main features of SSB. Related questions include: What does it mean to say that a symmetry is spontaneously broken? Is it broken without any causes, or is the symmetry not broken but merely hidden? Is the principle, “no asymmetry in, no asymmetry out,” violated by SSB? What really distinguishes SSB from the usual types of symmetry breaking?



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Chuang Liu
University of Florida

Citations of this work

Curie’s Principle and spontaneous symmetry breaking.John Earman - 2004 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2 & 3):173 – 198.
The Elusive Higgs Mechanism.Chris Smeenk - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):487-499.
Explaining quantum spontaneous symmetry breaking.Chuang Liu & Gérard G. Emch - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (1):137-163.
Spontaneous creation of the universe ex nihilo.Maya Lincoln & Avi Wasser - 2014 - Physics of the Dark Universe 2 (4):195-199.

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