Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections

Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections

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Cambridge University Press, 12/4/2003
EAN 9780521821377, ISBN10: 0521821371

Hardcover, 458 pages, 24.4 x 17 x 2.5 cm
Language: English

Symmetry considerations dominate modern fundamental physics, both in quantum theory and in relativity. This book presents a collection of philosophy-on-physics papers, highlighting the main issues and controversies, and providing an entry into the subject for both physicists and philosophers. It covers topical issues such as the significance of gauge symmetry, particle identity in quantum theory, how to make sense of parity violation, the role of symmetry-breaking, the empirical status of symmetry principles, and so forth, along with more traditional problems in the philosophy of science. These include the status of the laws of nature, the relationships between mathematics, physical theory, and the world, and the extent to which mathematics dictates physics. A valuable reference for students and researchers, it will also be of interest to those studying the foundations of physics, philosophy of physics and philosophy of science.

Copyright acknowledgements
List of contributors
1. Introduction
Part I. Continuous Symmetries
2. Classic texts
extracts from Weyl and Wigner
3. Review paper
On the significance of continuous symmetry to the foundations of physics C. Martin
4. The philosophical roots of the gauge principle
Weyl and transcendental phenomenological idealism T. Ryckman
5. Symmetries and Noether's theorems K. A. Brading and H. R. Brown
6. General covariance, gauge theories, and the Kretschmann objection J. Norton
7. The interpretation of gauge symmetry M. Redhead
8. Tracking down gauge
an ode to the constrained Hamiltonian formalism J. Earman
9. Time-dependent symmetries
the link between gauge symmetries and indeterminism D. Wallace
10. A fourth way to the Aharanov-Bohm effect A. Nounou
Part II. Discrete Symmetries
11. Classic texts
extracts from Lebniz, Kant and Black
12. Review paper
Understanding permutation symmetry S. French and D. Rickles
13. Quarticles and the identity of discernibles N. Hugget
14. Review paper
Handedness, parity violation, and the reality of space O. Pooley
15. Mirror symmetry
what is it for a relational space to be orientable? N. Huggett
16. Physics and Leibniz's principles S. Saunders
Part III. Symmetry Breaking
Classic texts
extracts from Curie and Weyl
18. Extract from G. Jona-Lasinio
Cross-fertilization in theoretical physics
the case of condensed matter and particle physics G. Jona-Lasinio
19. Review paper
On the meaning of symmetry breaking E. Castellani
20. Rough guide to spontaneous symmetry breaking J. Earman
21. Spontaneous symmetry breaking
theoretical arguments and philosophical problems M. Morrison
Part IV. General Interpretative Issues
22. Classic texts
extracts from Wigner
23. Symmetry as a guide to superfluous theoretical structure J. Ismael and B. van Fraassen
24. Notes on symmetries G. Belot
25. Symmetry, objectivity, and design P. Kosso
26. Symmetry and equivalence E. Castellani.