Quantum field theory: Underdetermination, inconsistency, and idealization

Philosophy of Science 76 (4):536-567 (2009)
Quantum field theory (QFT) presents a genuine example of the underdetermination of theory by empirical evidence. There are variants of QFT—for example, the standard textbook formulation and the rigorous axiomatic formulation—that are empirically indistinguishable yet support different interpretations. This case is of particular interest to philosophers of physics because, before the philosophical work of interpreting QFT can proceed, the question of which variant should be subject to interpretation must be settled. New arguments are offered for basing the interpretation of QFT on a rigorous axiomatic variant of the theory. The pivotal considerations are the roles that consistency and idealization play in this case. *Received June 2009; revised August 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada; e‐mail: dlfraser@uwaterloo.ca.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/649999
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Vincent Lam (2013). The Entanglement Structure of Quantum Field Systems. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):59 - 72.
Emanuele Rossanese (2013). Trope Ontology and Algebraic Quantum Field Theory: An Evaluation of Kuhlmann's Proposal. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4):417-423.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

138 ( #17,218 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #61,095 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.