The Standard Model of elementary particle physics distinguishes between fundamental and accidental symmetries. The distinction is not based on empirical features of the symmetry, nor on a metaphysical notion of necessity. A symmetry is fundamental to the extent that other aspects of nature depend on it, and it is recognized as fundamental by its being theoretically well-connected. This paper clarifies the concept of what it is to be fundamental in this sense, and suggests broader implications for the analysis of scientific knowledge.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||International Studies in the Philosophy of Science|
|State||Published - 2000|