Synthese:1-30 (forthcoming)

Authors
James Read
Oxford University
Abstract
A common adage runs that, given a theory manifesting symmetries, the syntax of that theory should be modified in order to construct a new theory, from which symmetry-variant structure of the original theory has been excised. Call this strategy for explicating the underlying ontology of symmetry-related models reduction. Recently, Dewar has proposed an alternative to reduction as a means of articulating the ontology of symmetry-related models—what he calls sophistication, in which the semantics of the original theory is modified, and symmetry-related models of that theory are treated as if they are isomorphic. In this paper, we undertake a critical evaluation of sophistication about symmetries—we find the programme underdeveloped in a number of regards. In addition, we clarify the interplay between sophistication about symmetries, and a separate debate to which Dewar has contributed—viz., that between interpretational versus motivational approaches to symmetry transformations.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-020-02658-4
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References found in this work BETA

The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Sophistication About Symmetries.Neil Dewar - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):485-521.

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Citations of this work BETA

On Absolute Units.Neil Dewar - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

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