Simplicity and observability: When are particles elementary?

Synthese 79 (3):89 - 100 (1989)
Abstract
It is not possible to dismiss the atomistic paradigm because the proposed elementary particles are too many (and, hence, it is claimed, they do not provide a simple account of nature) or because it is not possible to observe quarks in an isolated manner. The developments in particle physics have brought about radical changes to our notions of simplicity and observability, and in this paper we elaborate on these changes. It is as a result of these changes that the present situation in elementary particle physics justify us to claim that we have indeed reached a level of explanation where the constituent particles (quarks, leptons, gluons, and intermediate bosons) used for the explanation of the various phenomena considered to be delineating a particular level in the descriptive framework of the physical phenomena and a specific stratum in the organization of nature, can be regarded as elementary.
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References found in this work BETA
P. W. Anderson (1994). More is Different. In H. Gutfreund & G. Toulouse (eds.), Biology and Computation: A Physicist's Choice. World Scientific. 3--21.

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Citations of this work BETA
John R. Welch (2013). New Tools for Theory Choice and Theory Diagosis. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 44 (3):318-329.
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