Unitary inequivalence as a problem for structural realism

Abstract
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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    References found in this work BETA
    David Baker (2009). Against Field Interpretations of Quantum Field Theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):585-609.
    David Baker (2011). Broken Symmetry and Spacetime. Philosophy of Science 78 (1):128-148.
    Katherine Brading (2011). Structuralist Approaches to Physics: Objects, Models and Modality. In. In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. 43--65.

    View all 42 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.
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