Symmetry, Structure and the Constitution of Objects

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French, Steven
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In this paper I focus on the impact on structuralism of the quantum treatment of objects in terms of symmetry groups and, in particular, on the question as to how we might eliminate, or better, reconceptualise such objects in structural terms. With regard to the former, both Cassirer and Eddington not only explicitly and famously tied their structuralism to the development of group theory but also drew on the quantum treatment in order to further their structuralist aims and here I sketch the relevant history with an eye on what lessons might be drawn. With regard to the latter, Ladyman has explicitly cited Castellani's work on the group-theoretical constitution of quantum objects and I indicate both how such an approach needs to be understood if it is to mesh with Ladyman's 'ontic' form of structural realism and how it might accommodate permutation symmetry through a consideration of Huggett's recent account.