Neil Dewar: “Symmetries and Difference-Making”

Neil Dewar (Oxford) will be giving a talk entitled “Symmetries and Difference-Making” on Friday, November 14th. The talk will be held from 5:00-7:00pm in 716 Philosophy Hall (Columbia). The abstract for his talk is below. Hope to see you all there!

“Symmetries and Difference-Making”
Neil Dewar, Oxford University

Symmetries in theories (or at least, some symmetries) are often taken to indicate the presence of “surplus structure”. But what makes them such indicators? I first offer some reasons to be unsatisfied with epistemic answers to this question and then consider what kind of non-epistemic account we could give instead. To do so, I draw upon a novel account of the nature and purpose of scientific laws.

There will be a dinner after the talk. If you are interested, please email as soon as possible so that I can make the reservation for the appropriate number of people (please note that only the speaker’s dinner will be covered). If you have any other questions, please email

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