Are gauge symmetry transformations observable?
In a recent paper in this journal, Kosso () discussed the observational status of continuous symmetries of physics. While we are in broad agreement with his approach, we disagree with his analysis. In the discussion of the status of gauge symmetry, a set of examples offered by't Hooft () has influenced several philosophers, including Kosso; in all cases the interpretation of the examples is mistaken. In this paper, we present our preferred approach to the empirical significance of symmetries, re-analysing the cases of gauge symmetry and general covariance. © British Society for the Philosophy of Science 2004.
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