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Motivating dualities

Synthese 197 (1):263-291 (2020)

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  1. Objectivity, Invariance, and Convention: Symmetry in Physical Science.Talal A. Debs & Michael Redhead - 2007 - Harvard University Press.
    Most observers agree that modern physical theory attempts to provide objective representations of reality. However, the claim that these representations are based on conventional choices is viewed by many as a denial of their objectivity. As a result, objectivity and conventionality in representation are often framed as polar opposites. Offering a new appraisal of symmetry in modern physics, employing detailed case studies from relativity theory and quantum mechanics, Objectivity, Invariance, and Convention contends that the physical sciences, though dependent on convention, (...)
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  • Interpretation and Equivalence; or, Equivalence and Interpretation.Neil Dewar - unknown
    Philosophers of science spend a lot of time “interpreting” scientific theories. In this paper, I try to get a handle on what it is they might be up to. My main contention is that a certain picture of interpretation is widespread in contemporary philosophy of science: a picture according to which interpretation of theories is relevantly analogous to the interpretation of foreign literature. On this picture, which we might call the external account of theory-interpretation, meaning is to be imported into (...)
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  • Rethinking Newton’s Principia.Simon Saunders - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (1):22-48.
    It is widely accepted that the notion of an inertial frame is central to Newtonian mechanics and that the correct space-time structure underlying Newton’s methods in Principia is neo-Newtonian or Galilean space-time. I argue to the contrary that inertial frames are not needed in Newton’s theory of motion, and that the right space-time structure for Newton’s Principia requires the notion of parallelism of spatial directions at different times and nothing more. Only relative motions are definable in this framework, never absolute (...)
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  • Realism, Underdetermination and String Theory Dualities.Keizo Matsubara - 2013 - Synthese 190 (3):471-489.
    String theory promises to be able to provide us with a working theory of quantum gravity and a unified description of all fundamental forces. In string theory there are so called ‘dualities’; i.e. different theoretical formulations that are physically equivalent. In this article these dualities are investigated from a philosophical point of view. Semantic and epistemic questions relating to the problem of underdetermination of theories by data and the debate on realism concerning scientific theories are discussed. Depending on ones views (...)
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  • Topics in the Foundations of General Relativity and Newtonian Gravitation Theory.David B. Malament - 2012 - Chicago: Chicago University Press.
    1.1 Manifolds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1.2 Tangent Vectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (...)
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  • Physical Relativity: Space–Time Structure From a Dynamical Perspective.Harvey Brown - 2005 - Philosophy 82 (321):498-503.
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  • The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
  • Moderate Structural Realism About Space-Time.Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam - 2008 - Synthese 160 (1):27 - 46.
    This paper sets out a moderate version of metaphysical structural realism that stands in contrast to both the epistemic structural realism of Worrall and the—radical—ontic structural realism of French and Ladyman. According to moderate structural realism, objects and relations (structure) are on the same ontological footing, with the objects being characterized only by the relations in which they stand. We show how this position fares well as regards philosophical arguments, avoiding the objections against the other two versions of structural realism. (...)
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  • Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time.Tim Maudlin - 2012 - Princeton University Press.
    This concise book introduces nonphysicists to the core philosophical issues surrounding the nature and structure of space and time, and is also an ideal resource for physicists interested in the conceptual foundations of space-time theory. Tim Maudlin's broad historical overview examines Aristotelian and Newtonian accounts of space and time, and traces how Galileo's conceptions of relativity and space-time led to Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. Maudlin explains special relativity using a geometrical approach, emphasizing intrinsic space-time structure rather than (...)
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  • Gauging What's Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Contemporary Gauge Theories.Richard Healey - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    This is a prize-winning study of an area of physics not previously explored by philosophy: gauge theory. Gauge theories have provided our most successful representations of the fundamental forces of nature. But how do such representations work? Healey defends an original answer to this question.
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  • The Principles of Quantum Mechanics.P. A. M. Dirac - 1930 - Clarendon Press.
    THE PRINCIPLE OF SUPERPOSITION. The need for a quantum theory Classical mechanics has been developed continuously from the time of Newton and applied to an ...
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  • Invariances: The Structure of the Objective World.Robert Nozick - 2001 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
    Excerpts from Robert Nozick's "Invariances" Necessary truths are invariant across all possible worlds, contingent ones across only some.
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  • Fundamental and Emergent Geometry in Newtonian Physics.David Wallace - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):1-32.
    Using as a starting point recent and apparently incompatible conclusions by Saunders and Knox, I revisit the question of the correct spacetime setting for Newtonian physics. I argue that understood correctly, these two versions of Newtonian physics make the same claims both about the background geometry required to define the theory, and about the inertial structure of the theory. In doing so I illustrate and explore in detail the view—espoused by Knox, and also by Brown —that inertial structure is defined (...)
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  • The Principle of Sufficient Reason.Gordon Belot - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):55-74.
    The paper is about the physical theories which result when one identifies points in phase space related by symmetries; with applications to problems concerning gauge freedom and the structure of spacetime in classical mechanics.
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  • Empirical Consequences of Symmetries.D. Wallace & Hilary Greaves - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (1):59-89.
    It is widely recognized that ‘global’ symmetries, such as the boost invariance of classical mechanics and special relativity, can give rise to direct empirical counterparts such as the Galileo-ship phenomenon. However, conventional wisdom holds that ‘local’ symmetries, such as the diffeomorphism invariance of general relativity and the gauge invariance of classical electromagnetism, have no such direct empirical counterparts. We argue against this conventional wisdom. We develop a framework for analysing the relationship between Galileo-ship empirical phenomena on the one hand, and (...)
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  • The Bare Necessities.Shamik Dasgupta - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):115-160.
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  • On Empirically Equivalent Systems of the World.Willard van Orman Quine - 1975 - Erkenntnis 9 (3):313-28.
  • Target Space ≠ Space.Nick Huggett - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59:81-88.
    This paper investigates the significance of T-duality in string theory: the indistinguisha- bility with respect to all observables, of models attributing radically different radii to space – larger than the observable universe, or far smaller than the Planck length, say. Two interpretational branch points are identified and discussed. First, whether duals are physically equivalent or not: by considering a duality of the familiar simple harmonic oscillator, I argue that they are. Unlike the oscillator, there are no measurements ‘outside’ string theory (...)
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  • Substantivalist and Relationalist Approaches to Spacetime.Oliver Pooley - 2013 - In Robert Batterman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oxford University Press.
    Substantivalists believe that spacetime and its parts are fundamental constituents of reality. Relationalists deny this, claiming that spacetime enjoys only a derivative existence. I begin by describing how the Galilean symmetries of Newtonian physics tell against both Newton's brand of substantivalism and the most obvious relationalist alternative. I then review the obvious substantivalist response to the problem, which is to ditch substantival space for substantival spacetime. The resulting position has many affinities with what are arguably the most natural interpretations of (...)
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  • Newtonian Spacetime Structure in Light of the Equivalence Principle.Eleanor Knox - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):863-880.
    I argue that the best spacetime setting for Newtonian gravitation (NG) is the curved spacetime setting associated with geometrized Newtonian gravitation (GNG). Appreciation of the ‘Newtonian equivalence principle’ leads us to conclude that the gravitational field in NG itself is a gauge quantity, and that the freely falling frames are naturally identified with inertial frames. In this context, the spacetime structure of NG is represented not by the flat neo-Newtonian connection usually made explicit in formulations, but by the sum of (...)
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  • Buckets of Water and Waves of Space: Why Spacetime is Probably a Substance.Tim Maudlin - 1993 - Philosophy of Science 60 (2):183-203.
    This paper sketches a taxonomy of forms of substantivalism and relationism concerning space and time, and of the traditional arguments for these positions. Several natural sorts of relationism are able to account for Newton's bucket experiment. Conversely, appropriately constructed substantivalism can survive Leibniz's critique, a fact which has been obscured by the conflation of two of Leibniz's arguments. The form of relationism appropriate to the Special Theory of Relativity is also able to evade the problems raised by Field. I survey (...)
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  • Dual Theories: ‘Same but Different’ or ‘Different but Same’?Dean Rickles - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59:62-67.
    I argue that, under the glitz, dual theories are examples of theoretically equivalent descriptions of the same underlying physical content: I distinguish them from cases of genuine underdetermination on the grounds that there is no real incompatibility involved between the descriptions. The incompatibility is at the level of unphysical structure. I argue that dual pairs are in fact very strongly analogous to gauge- related solutions even for dual pairs that look the most radically distinct, such as AdS/CFT.
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  • On Dualities and Equivalences Between Physical Theories.Jeremy Butterfield - forthcoming - In Christian Wüthrich, Baptiste Le Bihan & Nick Huggett (eds.), Philosophy Beyond Spacetime. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The main aim of this paper is to make a remark about the relation between dualities between theories, as `duality' is understood in physics and equivalence of theories, as `equivalence' is understood in logic and philosophy. The remark is that in physics, two theories can be dual, and accordingly get called `the same theory', though we interpret them as disagreeing---so that they are certainly not equivalent, as `equivalent' is normally understood. So the remark is simple: but, I shall argue, worth (...)
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  • World Enough and Space‐Time: Absolute Versus Relational Theories of Space and Time.Robert Toretti & John Earman - 1989 - Philosophical Review 101 (3):723.
  • What Price Spacetime Substantivalism? The Hole Story.John Earman & John Norton - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (4):515-525.
    Spacetime substantivalism leads to a radical form of indeterminism within a very broad class of spacetime theories which include our best spacetime theory, general relativity. Extending an argument from Einstein, we show that spacetime substantivalists are committed to very many more distinct physical states than these theories' equations can determine, even with the most extensive boundary conditions.
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  • Symmetry as an Epistemic Notion.Shamik Dasgupta - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (3):837-878.
    Symmetries in physics are a guide to reality. That much is well known. But what is less well known is why symmetry is a guide to reality. What justifies inferences that draw conclusions about reality from premises about symmetries? I argue that answering this question reveals that symmetry is an epistemic notion twice over. First, these inferences must proceed via epistemic lemmas: premises about symmetries in the first instance justify epistemic lemmas about our powers of detection, and only from those (...)
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  • Symmetries and the Philosophy of Language.Neil Dewar - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):317-327.
    In this paper, I consider the role of exact symmetries in theories of physics, working throughout with the example of gravitation set in Newtonian spacetime. First, I spend some time setting up a means of thinking about symmetries in this context; second, I consider arguments from the seeming undetectability of absolute velocities to an anti-realism about velocities; and finally, I claim that the structure of the theory licences us to interpret models which differ only with regards to the absolute velocities (...)
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  • Comparing Dualities and Gauge Symmetries.Sebastian De Haro, Nicholas Teh & Jeremy N. Butterfield - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59:68-80.
    We discuss some aspects of the relation between dualities and gauge symmetries. Both of these ideas are of course multi-faceted, and we confine ourselves to making two points. Both points are about dualities in string theory, and both have the ‘flavour’ that two dual theories are ‘closer in content’ than you might think. For both points, we adopt a simple conception of a duality as an ‘isomorphism’ between theories: more precisely, as appropriate bijections between the two theories’ sets of states (...)
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  • Symmetry and the Metaphysics of Physics.David John Baker - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1157-1166.
    The widely held picture of dynamical symmetry as surplus structure in a physical theory has many metaphysical applications. Here, I focus on its relevance to the question of which quantities in a theory represent fundamental natural properties.
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  • Symmetry and Equivalence.Gordon Belot - 2013 - In Robert Batterman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oxford University Press. pp. 318-339.
    This paper is concerned with the relation between two notions: that of two solutions or models of a theory being related by a symmetry of the theory and that of solutions or models being physically equivalent. A number of authors have recently discussed this relation, some taking an optimistic view, on which there is a suitable concept of the symmetry of a theory relative to which these two notions coincide, others taking a pessimistic view, on which there is no such (...)
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  • Background Independence, Diffeomorphism Invariance, and the Meaning of Coordinates.Oliver Pooley - 2015 - In Dennis Lehmkuhl (ed.), Towards a Theory of Spacetime Theories. Birkhäuser.
    Diffeomorphism invariance is sometimes taken to be a criterion of background independence. This claim is commonly accompanied by a second, that the genuine physical magnitudes (the ``observables'') of background-independent theories and those of background-dependent (non-diffeomorphism-invariant) theories are essentially different in nature. I argue against both claims. Background-dependent theories can be formulated in a diffeomorphism-invariant manner. This suggests that the nature of the physical magnitudes of relevantly analogous theories (one background free, the other background dependent) is essentially the same. The temptation (...)
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  • The Role of Symmetry in the Interpretation of Physical Theories.Adam Caulton - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):153-162.
    The symmetries of a physical theory are often associated with two things: conservation laws and representational redundancies. But how can a physical theory's symmetries give rise to interesting conservation laws, if symmetries are transformations that correspond to no genuine physical difference? In this article, I argue for a disambiguation in the notion of symmetry. The central distinction is between what I call "analytic" and "synthetic" symmetries, so called because of an analogy with analytic and synthetic propositions. "Analytic" symmetries are the (...)
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  • Categories and the Foundations of Classical Field Theories.James Owen Weatherall - forthcoming - In Elaine Landry (ed.), Categories for the Working Philosopher. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    I review some recent work on applications of category theory to questions concerning theoretical structure and theoretical equivalence of classical field theories, including Newtonian gravitation, general relativity, and Yang-Mills theories.
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  • Foundations of Space-Time Theories.Michael Friedman - 1987 - Noûs 21 (4):595-601.
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  • The Heuristic Function of Duality.Sebastian De Haro - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):5169-5203.
    I conceptualise the role of dualities in quantum gravity, in terms of their functions for theory construction. I distinguish between two functions of duality in physical practice: namely, discovering and describing ‘equivalent physics’, versus suggesting ‘new physics’. I dub these the ‘theoretical’ versus the ‘heuristic’ functions of dualities. The distinction seems to have gone largely unnoticed in the philosophical literature: and it exists both for dualities, and for the more general relation of theoretical equivalence. The paper develops the heuristic function (...)
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  • A Comparison of the Meaning and Uses of Models in Mathematics and the Empirical Sciences.Patrick Suppes - 1960 - Synthese 12 (2-3):287--301.
  • Recovering Recovery: On the Relationship Between Gauge Symmetry and Trautman Recovery.Nicholas Teh - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (2):201-224.
    This article uncovers a foundational relationship between the ‘gauge symmetry’ of a Newton-Cartan theory and the celebrated Trautman Recovery Theorem and explores its implications for recent philosophical work on Newton-Cartan gravitation.
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  • Points, Particles, and Structural Realism.Oliver Pooley - 2005 - In Dean Rickles, Steven French & Juha T. Saatsi (eds.), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity. Oxford University Press. pp. 83--120.
    In his paper ``What is Structural Realism?'' James Ladyman drew a distinction between epistemological structural realism and metaphysical (or ontic) structural realism. He also drew a suggestive analogy between the perennial debate between substantivalist and relationalist interpretations of spacetime on the one hand, and the debate about whether quantum mechanics treats identical particles as individuals or as `non-individuals' on the other. In both cases, Ladyman's suggestion is that an ontic structural realist interpretation of the physics might be just what is (...)
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  • Galileo’s Gauge: Understanding the Empirical Significance of Gauge Symmetry.Nicholas Teh - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (1):93-118.
    This article investigates and resolves the question whether gauge symmetry can display analogs of the famous Galileo’s ship scenario. In doing so, it builds on and clarifies the work of Greaves and Wallace on this subject.
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  • Dualities of Fields and Strings.Joseph Polchinski - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59:6-20.
  • A Philosopher Looks at String Dualities.Dean Rickles - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 42 (1):54-67.
  • Duality and ‘Particle’ Democracy.Elena Castellani - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59:100-108.
    Weak/strong duality is usually accompanied by what seems a puzzling ontological feature: the fact that under this kind of duality what is viewed as 'elementary' in one description gets mapped to what is viewed as 'composite' in the dual description. This paper investigates the meaning of this apparent 'particle democracy', as it has been called, by adopting an historical approach. The aim is to clarify the nature of the correspondence between 'dual particles' in the light of an historical analysis of (...)
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  • Fields as Bodies: A Unified Presentation of Spacetime and Internal Gauge Symmetry.David Wallace - unknown
    Using the parametrised representation of field theory I demonstrate that in both local and global cases, internal and spacetime symmetries can be treated precisely on a par, so that gravitational theories may be regarded as gauge theories in a completely standard sense.
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  • Foundations and Current Problems of General Relativity (Notes by Graham Dixon, Petros Florides and Gerald Lemmer).Andrzej Trautman - 1965 - In A. Trautman (ed.), Lectures on General Relativity. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall. pp. 1--1.
  • An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory.Michael Peskin & Dan Schroeder - 1995 - Westview Press.
    An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory is a textbook intended for the graduate physics course covering relativistic quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics, and Feynman diagrams. The authors make these subjects accessible through carefully worked examples illustrating the technical aspects of the subject, and intuitive explanations of what is going on behind the mathematics. After presenting the basics of quantum electrodynamics, the authors discuss the theory of renormalization and its relation to statistical mechanics, and introduce the renormalization group. This discussion sets the (...)
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