"Physical and Metaphysical Symmetry"
David Baker, Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan
Cushing Memorial Prize Lecture
Symmetry principles have provided a revolutionary means of simplifying physical theories at no explanatory cost. Can similar methods be extended to the domain of pure metaphysics? As a cautionary tale, I consider the "comparativist" interpretation of physical quantities as relations rather than intrinsic properties, a case where a seeming metaphysical symmetry fails even in simple examples.