The Standard Model of elementary particle physics distinguishes between fundamental and accidental symmetries. The distinction is not based on empirical features of the symmetry, nor on a metaphysical notion of necessity. A symmetry is fundamental to the extent that other aspects of nature depend on it, and it is recognized as fundamental by its being theoretically well-connected. This paper clarifies the concept of what it is to be fundamental in this sense, and suggests broader implications for the analysis of scientific knowledge.
|Number of pages
|International Studies in the Philosophy of Science
|Published - Dec 1 2000
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- History and Philosophy of Science