Fundamental and accidental symmetries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-121
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Studies in the Philosophy of Science
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History and Philosophy of Science

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