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The fate of 'particles' in quantum field theories with interactions

Fraser, Doreen (2008) The fate of 'particles' in quantum field theories with interactions. [Preprint]

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    Most philosophical discussion of the particle concept that is afforded by quantum field theory has focused on free systems. This paper is devoted to a systematic investigation of whether the particle concept for free systems can be extended to interacting systems. The possible methods of accomplishing this are considered and all are found unsatisfactory. Therefore, an interacting system cannot be interpreted in terms of particles. As a consequence, quantum field theory does not support the inclusion of particles in our ontology. In contrast to much of the recent discussion on the particle concept derived from quantum field theory, this argument does not rely on the assumption that a particulate entity be localizable.

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: Forthcoming in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
    Keywords: quantum field theory, quanta, particle, interaction
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
    Depositing User: Doreen Fraser
    Date Deposited: 25 May 2008
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:16
    Item ID: 4038

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