"Physical and Metaphysical Symmetry"


Location: 209 DeBartolo

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.

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