Dresden 2013 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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SYUM: Symposium Ursprung der Masse

SYUM 1: Ursprung der Masse

SYUM 1.2: Plenarvortrag

Mittwoch, 6. März 2013, 14:35–15:10, HSZ-01/02

The Higgs mechanism as a challenge for philosophy — •Simon Friederich — Philosophisches Seminar, Universität Göttingen, Deutschland

The Higgs mechanism raises interesting conceptual and methodological challenges. Conceptually, it is widely associated with the notion of a spontaneously broken local gauge symmetry, but this notion appears puzzling if one thinks of gauge symmetries as connecting physically identical situations. One may therefore wonder what it means for such a symmetry to be "spontaneously broken" and how such a breaking can have a physical effect such as particle mass generation. On a methodological level, the Higgs mechanism has often been accused of being unsatisfying and "ad hoc". However, the Higgs mechanism does not qualify as "ad hoc" according to how philosophers of science have used that notion in the past. I argue that it makes perfect sense to criticise the Higgs mechanism as an ad hoc hypothesis and that this speaks against these philosophers' views.

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