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Large gauge transformations, gauge invariance, and the QCD theta-term

Gomes, Henrique and Riello, Aldo (2020) Large gauge transformations, gauge invariance, and the QCD theta-term. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The eliminative view of gauge degrees of freedom---the view that they arise solely from descriptive redundancy and are therefore eliminable from the theory---is a lively topic of debate in the philosophy of physics.
Recent work attempts to leverage properties of the QCD theta-term to provide a novel argument against the eliminative view. The argument is based on the claim that the QCD theta-term changes under ``large'' gauge transformations.
Here we review geometrical propositions about fiber bundles that unequivocally falsify these claims: the theta-term encodes topological features of the fiber bundle used to represent gauge degrees of freedom, but it is fully gauge-invariant.
Nonetheless, within the essentially classical viewpoint pursued here, the physical role of the theta-term shows the physical importance of bundle topology (or superpositions thereof) and thus weighs against (a naive) eliminativism.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Gomes, Henriquehdag2@cam.ac.uk
Riello, Aldoariello@pitp.ca
Keywords: Eliminativism, gauge theory, large gauge transformations, holonomies, QCD, instantons.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr Henrique Gomes
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2020 03:02
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2020 03:02
Item ID: 17446
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 6 July 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17446

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