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  1. Renormalizability, Fundamentality, and a Final Theory: The Role of UV-Completion in the Search for Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther & Niels Linnemann - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):377-406.
    Principles are central to physical reasoning, particularly in the search for a theory of quantum gravity, where novel empirical data are lacking. One principle widely adopted in the search for QG is ultraviolet completion: the idea that a theory should hold up to all possible high energies. We argue— contra standard scientific practice—that UV-completion is poorly motivated as a guiding principle in theory-construction, and cannot be used as a criterion of theory-justification in the search for QG. For this, we explore (...)
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  • On Emergence in Gauge Theories at the ’T Hooft Limit‘.Nazim Bouatta & Jeremy Butterfield - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (1):55-87.
    Quantum field theories are notoriously difficult to understand, physically as well as philosophically. The aim of this paper is to contribute to a better conceptual understanding of gauge quantum field theories, such as quantum chromodynamics, by discussing a famous physical limit, the ’t Hooft limit, in which the theory concerned often simplifies. The idea of the limit is that the number N of colours goes to infinity. The simplifications that can happen in this limit, and that we will consider, are: (...)
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  • A Persistent Particle Ontology for Quantum Field Theory: Michael Esfeld and Dirk-André Deckert: A Minimalist Ontology of the Natural World. New York: Routledge, 2017, 182pp, US$140.00 HB.Adam Caulton - 2018 - Metascience 27 (3):439-441.
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  • Observability, Visualizability and the Question of Metaphysical Neutrality.Johanna Wolff - 2015 - Foundations of Physics 45 (9):1046-1062.
    Theories in fundamental physics are unlikely to be ontologically neutral, yet they may nonetheless fail to offer decisive empirical support for or against particular metaphysical positions. I illustrate this point by close examination of a particular objection raised by Wolfgang Pauli against Hermann Weyl. The exchange reveals that both parties to the dispute appeal to broader epistemological principles to defend their preferred metaphysical starting points. I suggest that this should make us hesitant to assume that in deriving metaphysical conclusions from (...)
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  • Lawrence P. Horwitz: Relativistic Quantum Mechanics: Springer, Dordrecht, 2015.Donald Reed - 2017 - Foundations of Physics 47 (11):1498-1502.
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  • The Entanglement Structure of Quantum Field Systems.Vincent Lam - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):59 - 72.
    This article discusses the peculiar features of quantum entanglement and quantum non-locality within the algebraic approach to relativistic quantum field theory (RQFT). The debate on the ontology of RQFT is considered in the light of these well-known but little discussed features. In particular, this article examines the ontic structural realist understanding of quantum entanglement and quantum non-locality and its contribution to this debate.
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  • Mathematical Developments in the Rise of Yang–Mills Gauge Theories.Adam Koberinski - 2019 - Synthese:1-31.
    In this paper I detail three major mathematical developments that led to the emergence of Yang–Mills theories as the foundation for the standard model of particle physics. In less than 10 years, work on renormalizability, the renormalization group, and lattice quantum field theory highlighted the utility of Yang–Mills type models of quantum field theory by connecting poorly understood candidate dynamical models to emerging experimental results. I use this historical case study to provide lessons for theory construction in physics, and touch (...)
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  • A Philosopher's Guide to the Foundations of Quantum Field Theory.Noel Swanson - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (5):e12414.
    A major obstacle facing interpreters of quantum field theory is a proliferation of different theoretical frameworks. This article surveys three of the main available options—Lagrangian, Wightman, and algebraic QFT—and examines how they are related. Although each framework emphasizes different aspects of QFT, leading to distinct strengths and weaknesses, there is less tension between them than commonly assumed. Given the limitations of our current knowledge and the need for creative new ideas, I urge philosophers to explore puzzles, tools, and techniques from (...)
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  • The Limits of Physical Equivalence in Algebraic Quantum Field Theory.Tracy Lupher - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw017.
    Some physicists and philosophers argue that unitarily inequivalent representations in quantum field theory are mathematical surplus structure. Support for that view, sometimes called ‘algebraic imperialism’, relies on Fell’s theorem and its deployment in the algebraic approach to QFT. The algebraic imperialist uses Fell’s theorem to argue that UIRs are ‘physically equivalent’ to each other. The mathematical, conceptual, and dynamical aspects of Fell’s theorem will be examined. Its use as a criterion for physical equivalence is examined in detail and it is (...)
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  • Lessons From Realistic Physics for the Metaphysics of Quantum Theory.David Wallace - 2018 - Synthese:1-16.
    Quantum mechanics, and classical mechanics, are framework theories that incorporate many different concrete theories which in general cannot be arranged in a neat hierarchy, but discussion of ‘the ontology of quantum mechanics’ tends to proceed as if quantum mechanics were a single concrete theory, specifically the physics of nonrelativistically moving point particles interacting by long-range forces. I survey the problems this causes and make some suggestions for how a more physically realistic perspective ought to influence the metaphysics of quantum mechanics.
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  • Whence the Effectiveness of Effective Field Theories?Alexander Franklin - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Effective Quantum Field Theories (EFTs) are effective insofar as they apply within a prescribed range of length-scales, but within that range they predict and describe with extremely high accuracy and precision. The effectiveness of EFTs is explained by identifying the features – the scaling behaviour of the parameters – which lead to effectiveness. The explanation relies on distinguishing autonomy with respect to changes in microstates, from autonomy with respect to changes in microlaws, and relating these, respectively, to renormalisability and naturalness. (...)
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  • A Prolegomenon to the Ontology of the Everett Interpretation.David Wallace - unknown
    In this article, I briefly explain the quantum measurement problem and the Everett interpretation, in a way that is faithful to modern physics and yet accessible to readers without any physics training. I then consider the metaphysical lessons for ontology from quantum mechanics under the Everett interpretation. My conclusions are largely negative: I argue that very little can be said in full generality about the ontology of quantum mechanics, because quantum mechanics, like abstract classical mechanics, is a framework within which (...)
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  • Renormalizability, Fundamentality and a Final Theory: The Role of UV-Completion in the Search for Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther & Niels Linnemann - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx052.
    Principles are central to physical reasoning, particularly in the search for a theory of quantum gravity (QG), where novel empirical data is lacking. One principle widely adopted in the search for QG is UV completion: the idea that a theory should (formally) hold up to all possible high energies. We argue---/contra/ standard scientific practice---that UV-completion is poorly-motivated as a guiding principle in theory-construction, and cannot be used as a criterion of theory-justification in the search for QG. For this, we explore (...)
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  • The Real Problem with Perturbative Quantum Field Theory.James D. Fraser - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The perturbative approach to quantum field theory has long been viewed with suspicion by philosophers of science. This paper offers a diagnosis of its conceptual problems. Drawing on Norton’s discussion of the notion of approximation I argue that perturbative QFT ought to be understood as producing approximations without specifying an underlying QFT model. This analysis leads to a reassessment of common worries about perturbative QFT. What ends up being the key issue with the approach on this picture is not mathematical (...)
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  • The Limits of Physical Equivalence in Algebraic Quantum Field Theory.Tracy Lupher - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):553-576.
    Some physicists and philosophers argue that unitarily inequivalent representations in quantum field theory are mathematical surplus structure. Support for that view, sometimes called ‘algebraic imperialism’, relies on Fell’s theorem and its deployment in the algebraic approach to QFT. The algebraic imperialist uses Fell’s theorem to argue that UIRs are ‘physically equivalent’ to each other. The mathematical, conceptual, and dynamical aspects of Fell’s theorem will be examined. Its use as a criterion for physical equivalence is examined in detail and it is (...)
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  • Scientific Realism Made Effective.Porter Williams - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):209-237.
    I argue that a common philosophical approach to the interpretation of physical theories—particularly quantum field theories—has led philosophers astray. It has driven many to declare the quantum field theories employed by practicing physicists, so-called ‘effective field theories’, to be unfit for philosophical interpretation. In particular, such theories have been deemed unable to support a realist interpretation. I argue that these claims are mistaken: attending to the manner in which these theories are employed in physical practice, I show that interpreting effective (...)
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  • Coarse-Graining as a Route to Microscopic Physics: The Renormalization Group in Quantum Field Theory.Li Bihui - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1211-1223.
    The renormalization group has been characterized as merely a coarse-graining procedure that does not illuminate the microscopic content of quantum field theory, but merely gets us from that content, as given by axiomatic QFT, to macroscopic predictions. I argue that in the constructive field theory tradition, RG techniques do illuminate the microscopic dynamics of a QFT, which are not automatically given by axiomatic QFT. RG techniques in constructive field theory are also rigorous, so one cannot object to their foundational import (...)
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  • Solutions in Constructive Field Theory.Leif Hancox-Li - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):335-358.
    Constructive field theory aims to rigorously construct concrete, nontrivial solutions to Lagrangians used in particle physics. I examine the relationship of solutions in constructive field theory to both axiomatic and Lagrangian quantum field theory. I argue that Lagrangian QFT provides conditions for what counts as a successful constructive solution and other information that guides constructive field theorists to solutions. Solutions matter because they describe the behavior of QFT systems and thus what QFT says the world is like. Constructive field theory (...)
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  • Identity Conditions, Idealisations and Isomorphisms: A Defence of the Semantic Approach.Steven French - 2016 - Synthese:1-21.
    In this paper I begin with a recent challenge to the Semantic Approach and identify an underlying assumption, namely that identity conditions for theories should be provided. Drawing on previous work, I suggest that this demand should be resisted and that the Semantic Approach should be seen as a philosophical device that we may use to represent certain features of scientific practice. Focussing on the partial structures variant of that approach, I then consider a further challenge that arises from a (...)
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  • A Proposal for a Coherent Ontology of Fundamental Entities.Diego Romero-Maltrana, Federico Benitez & Cristian Soto - 2018 - Foundations of Science 23 (4):705-717.
    We argue that the distinction between framework and interaction theories should be taken carefully into consideration when dealing with the philosophical implications of fundamental theories in physics. In particular, conclusions concerning the nature of reality can only be consistently derived from assessing the ontological and epistemic purport of both types of theories. We put forward an epistemic form of realism regarding framework theories, such as Quantum Field Theory. The latter, indeed, informs us about the general properties of quantum fields, laying (...)
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  • The Case of the Composite Higgs: The Model as a “Rosetta Stone” in Contemporary High-Energy Physics.Arianna Borrelli - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (3):195-214.
    This paper analyses the practice of model-building “beyond the Standard Model” in contemporary high-energy physics and argues that its epistemic function can be grasped by regarding models as mediating between the phenomenology of the Standard Model and a number of “theoretical cores” of hybrid character, in which mathematical structures are combined with verbal narratives and analogies referring back to empirical results in other fields . Borrowing a metaphor from a physics research paper, model-building is likened to the search for a (...)
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  • The Case of the Composite Higgs: The Model as a “Rosetta Stone” in Contemporary High-Energy Physics.Arianna Borrelli - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (3):195-214.
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  • Higgs Models and Other Stories About Mass Generation.Michael Stöltzner - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (2):369-386.
    The paper studies the topography of the model landscape of the physics in the Higgs sector both within the Standard Model of Elementary Particle Physics and beyond in the months before the discovery of a SM Higgs boson. At first glance, this landscape appears fragmented into a large number of different models and research communities. But it also clusters around certain guiding ideas, among them supersymmetry or dynamical symmetry breaking, in which representative and narrative features of the models are combined. (...)
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