Curie’s Hazard: From Electromagnetism to Symmetry Violation

Erkenntnis 81 (5):1011-1029 (2016)
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Abstract

Pierre Curie claimed that a symmetry of a cause must be found in the produced effects. This paper shows why this principle works in Curie’s example of the electrostatics of central fields, but fails in many others. The failure of Curie’s claim is then shown to be of special empirical interest, in that this failure underpins the experimental discovery of parity violation and of CP violation in the twentieth century.

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Bryan W. Roberts
London School of Economics

Citations of this work

Time Reversal.Bryan W. Roberts - 2022 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. London, UK: Routledge.
Which Curie’s Principle?Elena Castellani & Jenann Ismael - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):1002-1013.
Curie’s principle and causal graphs.David Kinney - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 87 (C):22-27.
Symmetry Breaking.Elena Castellani & Radin Dardashti - 2022 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. London, UK: Routledge.

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References found in this work

Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections.Katherine Brading & Elena Castellani (eds.) - 2002 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Symmetry and Symmetry Breaking.Katherine Brading & Elena Castellani - forthcoming - The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Curie’s Principle and spontaneous symmetry breaking.John Earman - 2004 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2 & 3):173 – 198.
Classic texts: Extracts from Leibniz, Kant, and Black.Katherine A. Brading & Elena Castellani - 2003 - In Katherine A. Brading & Elena Castellani (eds.), Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections. Cambridge University Press. pp. 203.

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