Synthese https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-018-1817-5 1 1 James Read · Thomas Møller-Nielsen Received: 20 August 2017 / Accepted: 12 May 2018 © Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018 Abstract There exists a common view that for theories related by a ‘duality’, dual models typically may be taken ab initio to represent the same physical state of affairs, i.e. to correspond to the same possible world. We question this view, by drawing a parallel with the distinction between ‘interpretational’ and ‘motivational’ approaches to symmetries. Keywords Dualities · Symmetries · Theoretical equivalence · Interpretation · Newtonian gravitation theory · String theory 1 Introduction The phenomenon of ‘duality’ is pervasive in contemporary theoretical physics— particularly string theory. Roughly, two physical theories are dual when there exists an isomorphism between their spaces of dynamically possible models, such that models related by that isomorphism are empirically equivalent. According to a common view in the philosophical literature, duality-related models typically may be construed ab initio as representing the same physical state of affairs, i.e. as corresponding to the same possible world—in which case duality-related models are not only empirically For the deﬁnition of ‘dynamically possible model’, see Sect. 2. In this paper, the term ‘model’
Synthese – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2018
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