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Hamiltonian Privilege

Hunt, Josh and Carcassi, Gabriele and Aidala, Christine A (2023) Hamiltonian Privilege. [Preprint]

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Abstract

We argue that Hamiltonian mechanics is more fundamental than Lagrangian mechanics. Our argument provides a non-metaphysical strategy for privileging one formulation of a theory over another: ceteris paribus, a more general formulation is more fundamental. We illustrate this criterion through a novel interpretation of classical mechanics, based on three physical conditions. Two of these conditions suffice for recovering Hamiltonian mechanics. A third condition is necessary for Lagrangian mechanics. Hence, Lagrangian systems are a proper subset of Hamiltonian systems. Finally, we provide a geometric interpretation of the principle of stationary action and rebut arguments for privileging Lagrangian mechanics.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Hunt, Joshjoshhunt@umich.edu0000-0001-5150-0388
Carcassi, Gabrielecarcassi@umich.edu0000-0002-1071-6251
Aidala, Christine Acaidala@umich.edu0000-0001-9540-4988
Keywords: classical mechanics, fundamentality, theoretical equivalence, reverse physics
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Josh Hunt
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2023 12:50
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2023 12:50
Item ID: 22202
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2 June 2023
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22202

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