Why Surplus Structure Is Not Superfluous

Why Surplus Structure Is Not Superfluous Abstract The idea that gauge theory has ‘surplus’ structure poses a puzzle: in one much discussed sense, this structure is redundant; but on the other hand, it is also widely held to play an essential role in the theory. In this paper, we employ category-theoretic tools to illuminate an aspect of this puzzle. We precisify what is meant by ‘surplus’ structure by means of functorial comparisons with equivalence classes of gauge fields, and then show that such structure is essential for any theory that represents a rich collection of physically relevant fields that are ‘local’ in nature. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Oxford University Press

Why Surplus Structure Is Not Superfluous

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com
ISSN
0007-0882
eISSN
1464-3537
D.O.I.
10.1093/bjps/axy026
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract The idea that gauge theory has ‘surplus’ structure poses a puzzle: in one much discussed sense, this structure is redundant; but on the other hand, it is also widely held to play an essential role in the theory. In this paper, we employ category-theoretic tools to illuminate an aspect of this puzzle. We precisify what is meant by ‘surplus’ structure by means of functorial comparisons with equivalence classes of gauge fields, and then show that such structure is essential for any theory that represents a rich collection of physically relevant fields that are ‘local’ in nature. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

Journal

The British Journal for the Philosophy of ScienceOxford University Press

Published: Mar 28, 2018

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