Is symmetry identity?

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 02/2012; 16(2). DOI: 10.1080/02698590220145061
Source: arXiv


Wigner found unreasonable the "effectiveness of mathematics in the natural
sciences". But if the mathematics we use to describe nature is simply a coded
expression of our experience then its effectiveness is quite reasonable. Its
effectiveness is built into its design. We consider group theory, the logic of
symmetry. We examine the premise that symmetry is identity; that group theory
encodes our experience of identification. To decide whether group theory
describes the world in such an elemental way we catalogue the detailed
correspondence between elements of the physical world and elements of the
formalism. Providing an unequivocal match between concept and mathematical
statement completes the case. It makes effectiveness appear reasonable. The
case that symmetry is identity is a strong one but it is not complete. The
further validation required suggests that unexpected entities might be
describable by the irreducible representations of group theory.

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Available from: Marvin Chester, Jan 18, 2015
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