Perfect Symmetries

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Healey, Richard
preprint description
While empirical symmetries relate situations, theoretical symmetries relate models of a theory we use to represent them. An empirical symmetry is perfect if and only if any two situations it relates share all intrinsic properties. Sometimes one can use a theory to explain an empirical symmetry by showing how it follows from a corresponding theoretical symmetry. The theory then reveals a perfect symmetry. I say what this involves and why it matters, beginning with a puzzle which is resolved by the subsequent analysis. I conclude by pointing to applications and implications of the ideas developed earlier in the paper.