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Infrared Cancellation and Measurement

Miller, Michael (2020) Infrared Cancellation and Measurement. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Quantum field theories containing massless particles such as photons and gluons are divergent not just in the ultraviolet, but also in the infrared. Infrared divergences are typically regarded as less conceptually problematic than ultraviolet divergences because there is a reasonably straightforward cancellation mechanism that renders measurable physical observables such as decay rates and cross-sections infrared finite. In this paper, I scrutinize the restriction to measurable physical observables that is required to make the cancellation mechanism applicable. I argue that this restriction does not necessitate a retreat to operationalism about the meaning of the theory as one might reasonably have worried, but it does call attention to a collection of underappreciated conceptual issues lurking in the infrared regime of quantum field theories with massless particles.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Miller, Michaelmichael.earl.miller@gmail.com
Keywords: infrared divergences, measurement, operationalism, instrumentalism, realism, quantum mechanics, quantum field theory
Subjects: General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Mr. Michael E. Miller
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2020 03:08
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2020 03:08
Item ID: 17428
Subjects: General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 3 July 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17428

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