PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Equivalent and Inequivalent Formulations of Classical Mechanics

In this paper, I consider whether or not Hamiltonian and Lagrangian mechanics are equivalent theories. I do so by applying a criterion for theoretical equivalence that was recently proposed by Halvorson (2012, 2015) and Weatherall (2015). This discussion yields two philosophical payoffs: One about the scope and applicability of structural parsimony principles, and another concerning the verdicts that we make about equivalence of theories.

Author Information:

Thomas Barrett    
Department of Philosophy
Princeton University


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