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Dougherty, John (2020): Large gauge transformations and the strong CP problem. In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Vol. 69: pp. 50-66
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According to the Standard Model of particle physics, some gauge transformations are physical symmetries. That is, they are mathematical transformations that relate representatives of distinct physical states of affairs. This is at odds with the standard philosophical position according to which gauge transformations are an eliminable redundancy in a gauge theory's representational framework. In this paper I defend the Standard Model's treatment of gauge from an objection due to Richard Healey. If we follow the Standard Model in taking some gauge transformations to be physical symmetries then we face the "strong CP problem", but if we adopt the standard philosophical position on gauge then the strong CP problem dissolves. Healey offers this as a reason in favor of the standard philosophical view. However, as I argue here, following Healey's recommendation gives a theory that makes bad empirical predictions. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.