Spontaneous symmetry breaking and chance in a classical world

Philosophy of Science 70 (3):590-608 (2003)
Chuang Liu
University of Florida
This essay explores the nature of spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) in connection with a cluster of interrelated concepts such as Curie's symmetry principle, ergodicity, and chance and stability in classical systems. First, a clarification of the two existing senses of SSB is provided and an argument developed for a proposal for SSB, in which not only the possibilities but also the actual breakings are referred to. Second, a detailed analysis is given of classical SSB that answers the questions: (i) how we are justified in regarding it as a matter of chance, and (ii) why the breakings in it are equally probable. The answer provides some support to the applicability of ergodicity in special systems (such as ours).
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/376786
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,976
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Construction of the Higgs Mechanism and the Emergence of the Electroweak Theory.Koray Karaca - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (1):1-16.
Does the Higgs Mechanism Exist?Holger Lyre - 2008 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (2):119-133.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total downloads
38 ( #169,388 of 2,293,903 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #255,053 of 2,293,903 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature