# Bonn 2020 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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# AGPhil: Arbeitsgruppe Philosophie der Physik

## AGPhil 2: Space, Time and Symmetry I

### AGPhil 2.2: Vortrag

### Dienstag, 31. März 2020, 11:30–12:00, H-HS IV

**Symmetries and relationism** — •Guy Hetzroni — Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Despite the "century of symmetry" in physics, it seems that we have not yet achieved a satisfactory understanding of the reason that symmetry considerations repeatedly turn out helpful in constructing and unifying theories. The presented research provides an examination of the method through which symmetry principles are used in three different cases: the gauge principle in quantum field theories, general covariance in the general theory of relativity, and Mach's principle in classical mechanics. It shall be argued that the applications of symmetry arguments in all of these are all based in similar ways on a common hidden assumption, roughly stating that every possible transformation of the mathematical representation of a given system has a corresponding physical change in the state of the system with respect to another physical system. In addition to this account of the methodology, I shall claim that the most natural way to explain its success is by appealing to a certain form of relationism with respect to fundamental degrees of freedom. I shall argue that this view has the potential of providing a down-to-earth physical understanding of the applicability of symmetry considerations that stands in contrast to common descriptions of symmetries in terms of mathematical necessity, beauty of unexplained miracles.