Symmetry arguments in physics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Physicists often appeal to the beauty of a theory as a way to judge its credibility, and the most prevalent component of this beauty is symmetry. This paper describes the role and structure of symmetry arguments in physics. It demonstrates that the epistemic authority of an appeal to symmetry is based on empirical evidence and is independent of any aesthetic judgment. Furthermore, symmetry in nature is not evidence of design. Just the opposite, symmetry indicates a lack of planning. It is about nature's disregard for details.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-492
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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