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A Matter of Degree: Putting Unitary Equivalence to Work

Ruetsche, Laura (2002) A Matter of Degree: Putting Unitary Equivalence to Work. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    A characteristic feature of quantum field theory is the availability of unitarily inequivalent representations of its canonical commutation relations. Under the prima facie reasonable assumption that unitary equivalence is a necessary condition for physical equivalence, this availability implies that there are many physically inequivalent quantizations of any classical field theory. To explore this dramatic non-uniqueness, and its implications for our understanding of how physical theories delimit physical possibility, I examine some of the uses to which unitarily inequivalent representations are put in another setting in which they arise: the thermodynamic limit of quantum statistical mechanics.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Quantum Field Theory, Structure of Theories, Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, interpretation
    Conferences and Volumes: [2002] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 18th Biennial Mtg - PSA 2002: Contributed Papers (Milwaukee, WI; 2002) > PSA 2002 Contributed Papers
    Depositing User: Program Committee
    Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2003
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:11
    Item ID: 1095
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/1095

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