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  1. Gauge Symmetry Breaking in Gauge Theories—in Search of Clarification.Simon Friederich - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (2):157-182.
    The paper investigates the spontaneous breaking of gauge symmetries in gauge theories from a philosophical angle, taking into account the fact that the notion of a spontaneously broken local gauge symmetry, though widely employed in textbook expositions of the Higgs mechanism, is not supported by our leading theoretical frameworks of gauge quantum theories. In the context of lattice gauge theory, the statement that local gauge symmetry cannot be spontaneously broken can even be made rigorous in the form of Elitzur’s theorem. (...)
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  • From Ontic Structural Realism to Metaphysical Coherentism.Matteo Morganti - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):1-20.
    The present paper argues that the typical structuralist claims according to which invariances, symmetries and the like are fundamental – especially in physics – should not be understood in terms of physical relations being fundamental. Rather, they should be understood in terms of ‘metaphysical coherentism’ - the idea that object-like parts of reality exhibit symmetric relations of ontological dependence. The view is developed in some detail, in particular by showing that i) symmetric ontological dependence does not necessarily lead to uninformative (...)
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  • Two Approaches to Fractional Statistics in the Quantum Hall Effect: Idealizations and the Curious Case of the Anyon.Elay Shech - 2015 - Foundations of Physics 45 (9):1063-1100.
    This paper looks at the nature of idealizations and representational structures appealed to in the context of the fractional quantum Hall effect, specifically, with respect to the emergence of anyons and fractional statistics. Drawing on an analogy with the Aharonov–Bohm effect, it is suggested that the standard approach to the effects— the topological approach to fractional statistics—relies essentially on problematic idealizations that need to be revised in order for the theory to be explanatory. An alternative geometric approach is outlined and (...)
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  • Reconciling Spacetime and the Quantum: Relational Blockworld and the Quantum Liar Paradox. [REVIEW]William Mark Stuckey, Michael Silbserstein & Michael Cifone - 2008 - Foundations of Physics 38 (4):348-383.
    The Relational Blockworld (RBW) interpretation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics (NRQM) is introduced. Accordingly, the spacetime of NRQM is a relational, non-separable blockworld whereby spatial distance is only defined between interacting trans-temporal objects. RBW is shown to provide a novel statistical interpretation of the wavefunction that deflates the measurement problem, as well as a geometric account of quantum entanglement and non-separability that satisfies locality per special relativity and is free of interpretative mystery. We present RBW’s acausal and adynamical resolution of the (...)
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  • Semi-Realism, Sociability and Structure.Steven French - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):1 - 18.
    Semi-realism offers a metaphysics of science based on causal properties. Insofar as these are understood in terms of dispositions for specific relations that comprise the concrete structure of the world it can be regarded as a form of structural realism. And insofar as these properties are 'sociable' and cohere into the groupings that comprise the particulars investigated by science, it captures the underlying intuition behind forms of entity realism. However, I shall raise concerns about both these features. I shall suggest (...)
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  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Structural Realism but Were Afraid to Ask.Roman Frigg & Ioannis Votsis - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):227-276.
    Everything you always wanted to know about structural realism but were afraid to ask Content Type Journal Article Pages 227-276 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0025-7 Authors Roman Frigg, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE UK Ioannis Votsis, Philosophisches Institut, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, Geb. 23.21/04.86, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 2.
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  • Is Structural Underdetermination Possible?Holger Lyre - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):235 - 247.
    Structural realism is sometimes said to undermine the theory underdetermination (TUD) argument against realism, since, in usual TUD scenarios, the supposed underdetermination concerns the object-like theoretical content but not the structural content. The paper explores the possibility of structural TUD by considering some special cases from modern physics, but also questions the validity of the TUD argument itself. The upshot is that cases of structural TUD cannot be excluded, but that TUD is perhaps not such a terribly serious anti-realistic argument.
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  • Ontic Structuralism and the Symmetries of Particle Physics.Aharon Kantorovich - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (1):73-84.
    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 (...)
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  • Gauge Pressure. [REVIEW]Dean Rickles, Chris Smeenk, Holger Lyre & Richard Healey - 2009 - Metascience 18 (1):5-41.
    Symposium review of Richard Healey, Gauging What’s Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Contemporary Gauge Theories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Pp. 297. $99.00 HB.
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  • Pluralist Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?David Glick - forthcoming - Synthese.
    John Worrall (1989) famously claimed that structural realism is the best of both worlds; it enables one to endorse the best arguments for scientific realism and antirealism. In this paper, I argue that structural realism also enables one to combine two other seemingly inconsistent positions: realism and pluralism. Indeed, the very features which form the basis of the structural realist’s reply to the problem of theory change may be applied synchronically to allow for a pluralist structural realism. The resulting position (...)
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  • Entities Without Intrinsic Physical Identity.Vincent Lam - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (5):1157-1171.
    This paper critically discusses recent objections that have been raised against the contextual understanding of fundamental physical objects advocated by non-eliminative ontic structural realism. One of these recent objections claims that such a purely relational understanding of objects cannot account for there being a determinate number of them. A more general objection concerns a well-known circularity threat: relations presuppose the objects they relate and so cannot account for them. A similar circularity objection has also been raised within the framework of (...)
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  • Conceptual Foundations of Yang–Mills Theories. [REVIEW]Alexandre Guay - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (3):687-693.
    Essay review of Gauging What’s Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Contemporary Gauge Theories R. Healey. Oxford University Press (2007). To be published in the Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 39(3):687-693, 2008.
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  • Logic of Gauge.Alexander Afriat - 2019 - In Carlos Lobo & Julien Bernard (eds.), Weyl and the Problem of Space. Springer Verlag.
    The logic of gauge theory is considered by tracing its development from general relativity to Yang-Mills theory, through Weyl's two gauge theories. A handful of elements---which for want of better terms can be called \emph{geometrical justice}, \emph{matter wave}, \emph{second clock effect}, \emph{twice too many energy levels}---are enough to produce Weyl's second theory; and from there, all that's needed to reach the Yang-Mills formalism is a \emph{non-Abelian structure group} (say $\mathbb{SU}\textrm{(}N\textrm{)}$).
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  • Ontic Structural Realism.Kerry McKenzie - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (4):e12399.
    Ontic structural realism is at its core the view that “structure is ontologically fundamental.” Informed from its inception by the scientific revolutions that punctuated the 20th century, its advocates often present the position as the perspective on ontology best befitting of modern physics. But the idea that structure is fundamental has proved difficult to articulate adequately, and what OSR's claimed naturalistic credentials consist in is hard to precisify as well. Nor is it clear that the position is actually supported by (...)
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  • La topologica.Alessandro Afriat - 2013 - In Isabella Tassani (ed.), Oltre la fisica normale. Interpretazioni alternative e teorie non standard nella fisica moderna. pp. 14-19.
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  • Oltre la fisica normale. Interpretazioni alternative e teorie non standard nella fisica moderna.Isabella Tassani, Gino Tarozzi, Alessandro Afriat, Gennaro Auletta, Stefano Bordoni, Marco Buzzoni, Claudio Calosi, Vincenzo Fano, Alberto Cappi, Giovanni Macchia, Fabio Minazzi & Arcangelo Rossi (eds.) - 2013 - ISONOMIA - Epistemologica.
    Nella sua straordinaria opera scientifica, Franco Selleri si è sempre opposto alla rinuncia alla comprensione della struttura della realtà e della natura degli oggetti fisici, che egli considera come l’elemento caratterizzante delle principali teorie della fisica del Novecento e che è stata stigmatizzata da Karl Popper come tesi della “fine della strada in fisica”. Sin dalla fine degli anni ’60, egli ha sviluppato quella riflessione critica nei confronti delle teorie fondamentali della fisica moderna, in particolar modo della teoria delle particelle (...)
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  • Is the World Made of Loops?Alexander Afriat - manuscript
    In discussions of the Aharonov-Bohm effect, Healey and Lyre have attributed reality to loops $\sigma_0$ (or hoops $[\sigma_0]$), since the electromagnetic potential $A$ is currently unmeasurable and can therefore be transformed. I argue that $[A]=[A+d\lambda]_{\lambda}$ and the hoop $[\sigma_0]$ are related by a meaningful duality, so that however one feels about $[A]$ (or any potential $A\in[A]$), it is no worse than $[\sigma_0]$ (or any loop $\sigma_0\in[\sigma_0]$): no ontological firmness is gained by retreating to the loops, which are just as flimsy (...)
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  • Weyl’s Gauge Argument.Alexander Afriat - 2013 - Foundations of Physics 43 (5):699-705.
    The standard $\mathbb{U}(1)$ “gauge principle” or “gauge argument” produces an exact potential A=dλ and a vanishing field F=d 2 λ=0. Weyl (in Z. Phys. 56:330–352, 1929; Rice Inst. Pam. 16:280–295, 1929) has his own gauge argument, which is sketchy, archaic and hard to follow; but at least it produces an inexact potential A and a nonvanishing field F=dA≠0. I attempt a reconstruction.
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  • Shortening the Gauge Argument.Alexander Afriat - unknown
    The ''gauge argument'' is often used to 'deduce' interactions from a symmetry requirement. A transition---whose justification can take some effort---from global to local transformations is typically made at the beginning of the argument. But one can spare the trouble by \emph{starting} with local transformations, as global ones do not exist in general. The resulting economy seems noteworthy.
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  • Is the World Made of Loops?Alexander Afriat - unknown
    In discussions of the Aharonov-Bohm effect, Healey and Lyre have attributed reality to loops $\sigma_0$ (or hoops $[\sigma_0]$), since the electromagnetic potential $A$ is currently unmeasurable and can therefore be transformed. I argue that $[A]=[A+d\lambda]_{\lambda}$ and the hoop $[\sigma_0]$ are related by a meaningful duality, so that however one feels about $[A]$ (or any potential $A\in[A]$), it is no worse than $[\sigma_0]$ (or any loop $\sigma_0\in[\sigma_0]$): no ontological firmness is gained by retreating to the loops, which are just as flimsy (...)
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  • Group Structural Realism.Bryan W. Roberts - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):47-69.
    We present a precise form of structural realism, called group structural realism , which identifies ‘structure’ in quantum theory with symmetry groups. However, working out the details of this view actually illuminates a major problem for structural realism; namely, a structure can itself have structure. This article argues that, once a precise characterization of structure is given, the ‘metaphysical hierarchy’ on which group structural realism rests is overly extravagant and ultimately unmotivated.
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  • Symmetry, Empirical Equivalence, and Identity.Simon Friederich - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):537-559.
    The article proposes a novel approach to the much discussed question of which symmetries have ‘direct empirical significance’ and which do not. The approach is based on a development of a recently proposed framework by Hilary Greaves and David Wallace, who claim that, contrary to the standard folklore among philosophers of physics, ‘local’ symmetries may have direct empirical significance no less than ‘global’ ones. Partly vindicating the standard folklore, a result is derived here from a number of plausible assumptions, that (...)
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  • Priority and Particle Physics: Ontic Structural Realism as a Fundamentality Thesis.Kerry McKenzie - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):353-380.
    In this article, I address concerns that the ontological priority claims definitive of ontic structural realism are as they stand unclear, and I do so by placing these claims on a more rigorous formal footing than they typically have been hitherto. I first of all argue that Kit Fine’s analysis of ontological dependence furnishes us with an ontological priority relation that is particularly apt for structuralism. With that in place, and with reference to two case studies prominent within the structuralist (...)
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  • A Scientific Metaphysical Naturalisation of Information.Bruce Long - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Sydney
    The objective of this thesis is to present a naturalised metaphysics of information, or to naturalise information, by way of deploying a scientific metaphysics according to which contingency is privileged and a-priori conceptual analysis is excluded (or at least greatly diminished) in favour of contingent and defeasible metaphysics. The ontology of information is established according to the premises and mandate of the scientific metaphysics by inference to the best explanation, and in accordance with the idea that the primacy of physics (...)
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  • Scientific Realism and High Energy Physics.Richard Dawid - 2018 - In Juha Saatsi (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism. Routledge. pp. 279-290.
    The paper discusses major implications of high energy physics for the scientific realism debate. The first part analyses the ways in which aspects of the empirically well-confirmed standard model of particle physics are relevant for a reassessment of entity realism, ontological realism and structural realism. The second part looks at the implications of more far-reaching concepts like string theory. While those theories have not found empirical confirmation, if they turned out viable, their implications for the realism debate would be more (...)
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  • Does the Higgs Mechanism Exist?Holger Lyre - 2008 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (2):119-133.
    This paper explores the argument structure of the concept of spontaneous symmetry breaking in the electroweak gauge theory of the Standard Model: the so-called Higgs mechanism. As commonly understood, the Higgs argument is designed to introduce the masses of the gauge bosons by a spontaneous breaking of the gauge symmetry of an additional field, the Higgs field. The technical derivation of the Higgs mechanism, however, consists in a mere reshuffling of degrees of freedom by transforming the Higgs Lagrangian in a (...)
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  • Fundamentality, Effectiveness, and Objectivity of Gauge Symmetries.Aldo Filomeno - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):19-37.
    UNOFFICIAL ABSTRACT It is not clear (to me at least) whether certain metaphysical questions really demand explanation. In this article I propose an argument for why fundamental laws of nature (of a form similar to those of the Standard Model) would welcome an explanation. The argument relies on Curie's first principle and on a feature of the current laws of particle physics. I also argue that this feature allows us to understand the ``unreasonable'' effectiveness of mathematics in physics (5.2) and (...)
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  • Whence Ontological Structural Realism?Juha Saatsi - 2008 - In M. Dorato M. Suàrez (ed.), Epsa Epistemology and Methodology of Science. Springer. pp. 255--265.
    'Structural realism' is a buzzword in the scientific realism debate. Various positions with diverse motivations fall under this label. A much advertised distinction is between epistemic and ontological forms of structuralism. This paper scrutinizes the alleged dichotomy between these two 'alternatives', and criticises the considerations that have been taken to motivate the ontic variety over the epistemic. I will argue that ontological structural realism is not called for within the traditional realism debate.
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  • Humean Perspectives on Structural Realism.Holger Lyre - 2009 - In F. Stadler (ed.), The Present Situation in the Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 381--397.
    The paper is a kind of opinionated review paper on current issues in the debate about Structural Realism, roughly the view that we should be committed in the structural rather than object-like content of our best current scientific theories. The major thesis in the first part of the paper is that Structural Realism has to take structurally derived intrinsic properties into account, while in the second part key elements of aligning Structural Realism with a Humean framework are outlined.
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  • Structural Invariants, Structural Kinds, Structural Laws.Holger Lyre - unknown
    The paper has three parts. In the first part ExtOSR, an extended version of Ontic Structural Realism, will be introduced. ExtOSR considers structural properties as ontological primitives, where structural properties are understood as comprising both relational and structurally derived intrinsic properties or structure invariants. It is argued that ExtOSR is best suited to accommodate gauge symmetry invariants and zero value properties. In the second part, ExtOSR will be given a Humean shape by considering structures as categorical and global. It will (...)
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  • Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination.Kerry McKenzie - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx061.
    Ontic structural realism is at its core a thesis of fundamentality metaphysics: the thesis that structure, not objects, is endowed with fundamental status. Claimed both as the metaphysic most befitting of modern physics and radically at odds with more mainstream views, OSR first emerged as an entreaty to eliminate objects from our scheme of fundamental metaphysics. But an alternative view that physics does sanction objects, albeit merely as ontologically secondary entities, represents a different and seemingly less extreme route to the (...)
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  • Symmetries and the Identity of Physical States.Simon Friederich - 2016 - EPSA15 Selected Papers 5.
    The paper proposes a combined account of identity for physical states and direct empirical significance for symmetries according to which symmetry-related state variables designate distinct physical states if and only if the symmetry that relates them has direct empirical significance. Strengthening an earlier result, I show that, given this combined account, the local gauge symmetries in our leading contemporary theories of particle physics do not have any direct empirical significance.
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  • The Place of Philosophy of Physics in Physics and Philosophy: A Response to Michael Dummett.Holger Lyre - 2012 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 8 (1):120-132.
    The paper is an attempt to react as direct and as close as possible on Dummett’s 2007 paper by addressing his overall theses about bridging the gulfs between philosophers and physicists and between analytical and continental philosophy on the one hand and, on the other hand, picking up a couple of more detailed issues Dummett raises about physics and its philosophy.
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  • Ontic Structural Realism as a Metaphysics of Objects.Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam - 2011 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 143-159.
    The paper spells out five different accounts of the relationship between objects and relations three of which are versions of ontic structural realism. We argue that the distinction between objects and properties, including relations, is merely a conceptual one by contrast to an ontological one: properties, including relations, are modes, that is the concrete, particular ways in which objects exist. We then set out moderate OSR as the view according to which irreducible relations are central ways in which the fundamental (...)
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  • Is There a Compelling Argument for Ontic Structural Realism?Matteo Morganti - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1165-1176.
    Structural realism first emerged as an epistemological thesis aimed to avoid the socalled pessimistic metainduction on the history of science. Some authors, however, have suggested that the preservation of structure across theory change is best explained by endorsing the metaphysical thesis that structure is all there is. Although the possibility of this latter, ‘ontic’ form of structural realism has been extensively debated, not much has been said concerning its justification. In this article, I distinguish between two arguments in favor of (...)
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  • What is Ontic Structural Realism?Peter Mark Ainsworth - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):50-57.
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  • Scientific Structuralism: On the Identity and Diversity of Objects in a Structure.James Ladyman - 2007 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):23–43.
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  • Structuralism with and Without Causation.Juha Saatsi - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2255-2271.
    This paper explores the status of causation in structuralist metaphysics of physics. What role (if any) does causation play in understanding ‘structure’ in ontological structural realism? I address this question by examining, in a structuralist setting, arguments for and against the idea that fundamental physics deals, perhaps exclusively, with causal properties. I will argue (against Esfeld, Dorato and others) that a structuralist interpretation of fundamental physics should diverge from ‘causal structuralism’. Nevertheless, causation outside fundamental physics, and the basic motivation for (...)
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  • For or Against Structural Realism? A Verdict From High Energy Physics.Antigone M. Nounou - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 49:84-101.
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  • What is Ontic Structural Realism?Peter Mark Ainsworth - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):50-57.
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  • The Variety of Explanations in the Higgs Sector.Michael Stöltzner - 2017 - Synthese 194 (2).
    This paper argues that there is no single universal conception of scientific explanation that is consistently employed throughout the whole domain of Higgs physics—ranging from the successful experimental search for a standard model Higgs particle and the hitherto unsuccessful searches for any particles beyond the standard model, to phenomenological model builders in the Higgs sector and theoretical physicists interested in how the core principles of quantum field theory apply to spontaneous symmetry breaking and the Higgs mechanism. Yet the coexistence of (...)
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  • Berry Phase and Quantum Structure.Holger Lyre - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 48:45-51.
    The paper aims to spell out the relevance of the Berry phase in view of the question what the minimal mathematical structure is that accounts for all observable quantum phenomena. The question is both of conceptual and of ontological interest. While common wisdom tells us that the quantum structure is represented by the structure of the projective Hilbert space, the appropriate structure rich enough to account for the Berry phase is the U(1) bundle over that projective space. The Berry phase (...)
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