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Unitary Inequivalence as a Problem for Structural Realism

French, Steven (2010) Unitary Inequivalence as a Problem for Structural Realism. [Preprint]

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    Howard argues that the existence of unitarily inequivalent representations in Quantum Field Theory presents a problem for structural realism in this context. I consider two potential ways round this problem: 1), follow Wallace in adopting the 'naive' Lagrangian form of QFT with cut-offs; 2), adapt Ruetsche's 'Swiss Army Knife' approach. The first takes us into the current debate between Wallace and Fraser on conventional vs. algebraic QFT. The second involves consideration of the role of inequivalent representations in understanding spontaneous symmetry breaking and quantum statistics. In both cases, I suggest, the structural realist has sufficient room to manoeuvre.

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Quantum field theory; inequivalent representations; structural realism; Lagrangian; symmetry breaking; quantum statistics
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
    Depositing User: Professor Steven French
    Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2010
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:20
    Item ID: 5533

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