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Eating Goldstone bosons in a phase transition: A critical review of Lyre's analysis of the Higgs mechanism

Wüthrich, Adrian (2012) Eating Goldstone bosons in a phase transition: A critical review of Lyre's analysis of the Higgs mechanism. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    In this note, I briefly review Lyre’s (2008) analysis and interpretation of the Higgs mechanism. Contrary to Lyre, I maintain that, on the proper understanding of the term, the Higgs mechanism refers to a physical process in the course of which gauge bosons acquire a mass. Since also Lyre’s worries about imaginary masses can be dismissed, a realistic interpretation of the Higgs mechanism seems viable. While it may remain an open empirical question whether the Higgs mechanism did actually occur in the early history of the universe and what the details of the mechanism are, I claim that the term can certainly refer to a physical process.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: Forthcoming in the Journal for General Philosophy of Science
    Keywords: gauge transformations, Higgs mechanism, representation, symmetry
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
    Conferences and Volumes: [2010] Philosophy of Physics in Germany - Current State and Perspectives (Hannover, 11-12 June, 2010)
    Depositing User: Adrian Wüthrich
    Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2012 13:44
    Last Modified: 27 Oct 2012 13:44
    Item ID: 9384
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9384

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