Symmetry, Structure, and Spacetime


  • Dean Rickles, University of Sydney, Australia

In this book Rickles considers several interpretative difficulties raised by gauge-type symmetries (those that correspond to no change in physical state). The ubiquity of such symmetries in modern physics renders them an urgent topic in philosophy of physics. Rickles focuses on spacetime physics, and in particular classical and quantum general relativity. Here the problems posed are at their most pathological, involving the apparent disappearance of spacetime! Rickles argues that both traditional ontological positions should be replaced by a structuralist account according to which relational structure is what the physics is about.
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History and Philosophy of Science, Foundations of Physics, Philosophy, Physics


Book information

  • Published: October 2007
  • Imprint: ELSEVIER
  • ISBN: 978-0-444-53116-2

Table of Contents

1 Interpretation and Formalism2 Space and Time in the Leibniz-Clarke Debate3 The Interpretation of Gauge Symmetries4 Spacetime in General Relativity5 Responding to the Hole Problem6 What is an Observable In General Relativity?7 Time, Change, and Gauge8 Symmetry and Ontology9 Structuralism and Symmetry