Research Seminar November 19th: Noah Stemeroff - A World Without Symmetry: Structural Realism and the Mathematical Foundation of Natural Law in General Relativity

Research Seminar November 19th: Noah Stemeroff - A World Without Symmetry: Structural Realism and the Mathematical Foundation of Natural Law in General Relativity. The seminar will take place in Gilman 449 at 18:00.

13 November 2018

Noah Stemeroff

Cohn Institute

 

A World Without Symmetry:
Structural Realism and the Mathematical Foundation of Natural Law in General Relativity

 

Scientific realism is characterized by the belief that modern physical theory provides a true, or approximately true, representation of the physical world. Structural realism suggests that it is the continuous mathematical structure of physical theory that provides an accurate representation of the natural world. But scientific realism is often grounded on an appeal to the laws of nature to characterize objective features of reality, as they are thought to govern physical phenomena. In this talk, I argue that structural realists, who focus on the symmetry structure of physical theory, have failed to sufficiently address the framework-dependence of the mathematical conception of symmetry and invariance, the disparate nature of physical theory, and the recalcitrance of the natural world within general relativity. These concerns bring in to question the viability of the structural realist account of natural law. 

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