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SSB: QSM vs. QFT

Fraser, Doreen (2012) SSB: QSM vs. QFT. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Philosophical analysis of spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) in particle physics has been hindered by the unavailability of rigorous formulations of models in quantum field theory (QFT). A strategy for addressing this problem is to use the rigorous models that have been constructed for SSB in quantum statistical mechanics (QSM) systems as a basis for drawing analogous conclusions about SSB in QFT. Based on an analysis of this strategy as an instance of the application of the same mathematical formalism to different domains and as an instance of drawing analogies between domains, I conclude that certain structural explanations can be exported from QSM to QFT, but that causal explanations cannot.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Fraser, Doreendlfraser@uwaterloo.ca
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Philosophy of Science, Proceedings of PSA 2010 (Symposia)
Keywords: spontaneous symmetry breaking, quantum field theory, quantum statistical mechanics, applicability of mathematics, analogical reasoning
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Depositing User: Doreen Fraser
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2012 16:19
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2012 16:19
Item ID: 9258
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9258

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