Gauge gravity and the unification of natural forces

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):143 – 159 (2001)
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Abstract

Physics seems to tell us that there are four fundamental force-fields in nature: the gravitational, the electromagnetic, the weak, and the strong (or interactions). But it also seems to tell us that gravity cannot possibly be a force-field, in the same sense as the other three are. And yet the search for a grand unification of all four force-fields is today one of the hottest pursuits. Is this the result of a simple confusion? This article aims at clarifying this situation by (i) reviewing the gauge-field programme and its conception of unification of force-fields, (ii) examining the various attempts at a gauge theory of gravity, and (iii) articulating the nature of "gauging" and using it to explain the difference between gravity and the other force-fields.

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Chuang Liu
University of Florida

Citations of this work

Holism and structuralism in U(1) gauge theory.Holger Lyre - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (4):643-670.
Symmetry and gauge freedom.Gordon Belot - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 34 (2):189-225.
Simplified models: a different perspective on models as mediators.C. D. McCoy & Michela Massimi - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (1):99-123.
Curve it, gauge it, or leave it? Practical underdetermination in gravitational theories.Holger Lyre & Tim Oliver Eynck - 2001 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 34 (2):277-303.

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References found in this work

A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity.Edmund Whittaker - 1952 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 3 (10):204-207.
Nonlocality and the aharonov-Bohm effect.Richard Healey - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (1):18-41.
On the Unification of Physics.Tim Maudlin - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):129-144.
Gauge Matters.John Earman - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S209-S220.

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