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The non-miraculous success of formal analogies in quantum theories

Fraser, Doreen (2018) The non-miraculous success of formal analogies in quantum theories. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The Higgs model was developed using purely formal analogies to models of superconductivity. This is in contrast to historical case studies such as the development of electromagnetism, which employed physical analogies. As a result, quantum case studies such as the development of the Higgs model carry new lessons for the scientific realism--anti-realism debate. I argue that, by breaking the connection between success and approximate truth, the use of purely formal analogies is a counterexample to two prominent versions of the 'No Miracles' Argument (NMA) for scientific realism, Psillos' refined explanationist defence of realism and the Argument from History of Science for structural realism (Frigg and Votsis 2011). The NMA is undermined, but the success of the Higgs model is not miraculous because there is a naturalistically acceptable explanation for its success that does not invoke approximate truth. I also suggest some possible strategies for adapting to the counterexample for scientific realists who wish to hold on to the NMA in some form.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Fraser, Doreendlfraser@uwaterloo.ca0000-0001-9226-8749
Additional Information: Draft of a chapter forthcoming in French and Saatsi (Ed.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum, Oxford University Press
Keywords: Higgs model; superconductivity; analogies; no miracles argument
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Doreen Fraser
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2019 18:26
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2019 18:26
Item ID: 15547
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15547

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