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Particles in Quantum Field Theory

Fraser, Doreen (2017) Particles in Quantum Field Theory. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The consensus view among philosophers of physics is that relativistic quantum field theory (QFT) does not describe particles. That is, according to QFT, particles are not fundamental entities. How is this negative conclusion compatible with the positive role that the particle notion plays in particle physics? The first part of this chapter lays out multiple lines of negative argument that all conclude that QFT cannot be given a particle interpretation. These arguments probe the properties of the `particles' in standard formulations of QFT and the limited applicability of `particle' representations. The second part of the chapter surveys proposals for non-fundamental roles that the particle concept plays in particle physics. The conclusion suggests directions for future philosophical research.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Fraser, Doreendlfraser@uwaterloo.ca
Additional Information: Accepted for publication in E. Knox and A. Wilson (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics (2021).
Keywords: quantum field theory; particles; emergence
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Depositing User: Doreen Fraser
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2022 04:37
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2022 04:37
Item ID: 20083
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Date: 8 December 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20083

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