Invariance, Interpretation, and Motivation

Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1253-1264 (2017)

Abstract

In this article I assess the Invariance Principle, which states that only quantities that are invariant under the symmetries of our theories are physically real. I argue, contrary to current orthodoxy, that the variance of a quantity under a theory’s symmetries is not a sufficient basis for interpreting that theory as being uncommitted to the reality of that quantity. Rather, I argue, the variance of a quantity under symmetries only ever serves as a motivation to refrain from any commitment to the quantity in question.

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Citations of this work

Duality and Ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.
Sophistication About Symmetries.Neil Dewar - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):485-521.
Motivating Dualities.James Read & Thomas Møller-Nielsen - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):263-291.
Sophistry About Symmetries?Niels C. M. Martens & James Read - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):315-344.
On the Mathematics and Metaphysics of the Hole Argument.Oliver Pooley & James Read - forthcoming - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

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