# Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections

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.

Preface

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

17

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.