Physical Symmetries, Overarching Symmetries, and Consistency

Publication Year:
2012
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9441
Author(s):
Peterson, Daniel
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conference paper description
In this paper I provide an account of physical symmetries, which are defined relative to a specific physical theory, and overarching symmetries, which hold across many different physical theories. I outline two general strategies for uniting disparate physical symmetries under the same overarching symmetry, calling the first "realist" and the second "conventionalist". Finally, I argue that, should physicists and philosophers be interested in finding symmetries that do interesting and helpful physical and metaphysical work, the realist strategy would serve them better than the conventionalist strategy.