Ontic Structuralism and the Symmetries of Particle Physics

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Kantorovich, Aharon
preprint description
According to Structural Realism, in mature science there is structural continuity along theoretical change. A major counterexample to this thesis is the transition from the Eightfold Way to the Standard Model in particle physics. Nevertheless, the notion of structure is significantly important in comprehending the theoretical picture of particle physics, where particles change and undergo transmutations, while the only thing which remains unchanged is the basic structure, i.e. the symmetry group which controls the transmutations. This kind of view agrees with the paradigmatic case where the structure is an internal symmetry and the instantiations are the elementary particles. The metaphysical view which reflects this situation is a version of ontic structuralism.