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Renormalization Group Methods: What Explanation?

Castellani, Elena and Margoni, Emilia (2022) Renormalization Group Methods: What Explanation? [Preprint]

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Abstract

Renormalization and Renormalization Group (RG) have proven to be very powerful tools in contemporary physics, with a decisive influence on how to conceive of key physical
aspects, including theories themselves. While they can be tackled from a variety of standpoints, this paper focuses on a peculiar philosophical issue, i.e. the nature of explanations based on RG methods. After a short, historical overview to set out the physical context, we scrutinize recent debates on the topic, with a specific focus on Margaret Morrison's seminal work. With respect to Morrison's account, where RG explanation is portrayed as mathematical, non-reductive, and non-causal, our argument is twofold. First, we argue that RG theory's explanatory role cannot reside exclusively in its mathematical character, independently from a physical interpretation. Second, we more generally question the explanatory role of RG methods due to their effective nature.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Castellani, Elenaelena.castellani@unifi.it0000-0001-5314-0179
Margoni, Emiliaemilia.margoni@phd.unipi.it0000-0002-2556-1539
Keywords: Renormalization group, E´┐Żective theories, Critical phenomena, Non-causal explanation, Mathematical explanation
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Dr. Emilia Margoni
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2022 04:25
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2022 04:25
Item ID: 20372
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: 20 March 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20372

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