[SydPhil] Reminder: Foundations of Physics Seminar, Thursday 2nd May, Dean Rickles on Dualities

Matthew Farr matt.farr at sydney.edu.au
Wed May 1 00:05:57 AEST 2013

The details of this week's Sydney Foundations of Physics seminar are as follows:

Speaker: Dean Rickles (HPS, Sydney)
Title: Dualities and the Physical Content of Theories.

Abstract: A duality expresses a relationship between a pair of putatively distinct physical theories. Theories are said to be dual when they generate 'the same physics', where “same physics” is parsed in terms of, e.g., having the same amplitudes, expectation values, observable spectra, and so on. Hence, theories related by dualities can look very different while making exactly the same predictions about observable phenomena. Indeed, such theories can look sufficiently different that would-be interpreters would surely consider them to be representations of very different possible worlds. In this talk I will be concerned with the question of whether dualities reflect some deep aspect of reality, or whether they are simply a formal device that aids computations in difficult contexts (functioning in much the same way as a change of variables).  This links quite naturally to problems of underdetermination, and also to the issue of what we mean by theory in such contexts. I defend a rather deflationary account of the philosophical implications of dualities. Since the underdetermination is taken to apply to structurally distinct theories (that is, it is structure that is underdetermined), I will also consider whether dualities pose a problem for structural realists.

Time: Thursday 2nd May, 11:30-13:00
Location: Philosophy Common Room, Main Quad - A14, University of Sydney.

A list of future SydFoP seminars is available here: http://newagendasstudyoftime.wordpress.com/events/

If you'd like to give a seminar, or know of any future visitors who would like to give a seminar, please contact me at matt.farr at sydney.edu.au<mailto:matt.farr at sydney.edu.au>.

Details for how to subscribe to the SydFoP mailing list are here: http://lists.arts.usyd.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/sydfop

All the best
DR MATT FARR | Postdoctoral Research Fellow
New Agendas for the Study of Time<http://newagendasstudyoftime.wordpress.com/> | Centre for Time
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Room N494 | Quadrangle A14
University of Sydney | NSW | 2006

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