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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
Creators:
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Ruetsche, Laura
Keywords: Quantum Field Theory, Structure of Theories, Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, interpretation
Depositing User: Program Committee
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2003
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:11
Item ID: 1095
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/1095

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