Invariance, intrinsicality and perspicuity

Synthese 200 (2):1-17 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


It is now standard to interpret symmetry-related models of physical theories as representing the same state of affairs. Recently, a debate has sprung up around the question when this interpretational move is warranted. In particular, Møller-Nielsen :1253–1264, 2017) has argued that one is only allowed to interpret symmetry-related models as physically equivalent when one has a characterisation of their common content. I disambiguate two versions of this claim. On the first, a perspicuous interpretation is required: an account of the models’ common ontology. On the second, stricter, version of this claim, a perspicuous formalism is required in addition: one whose mathematical structures ‘intrinsically’ represent the physical world, in the sense of Field. Using Dewar’s :485–521, 2019) distinction between internal and external sophistication as a case study, I argue that the second requirement is decisive. This clarifies the conditions under which it is warranted to interpret symmetry-related models as physically equivalent.

Author's Profile

Caspar Jacobs
Leiden University


Added to PP

237 (#56,736)

6 months
99 (#34,298)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?