David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 32 (2):267-304 (2001)
Effective field theories have been a very popular tool in quantum physics for almost two decades. And there are good reasons for this. I will argue that effective field theories share many of the advantages of both fundamental theories and phenomenological models, while avoiding their respective shortcomings. They are, for example, flexible enough to cover a wide range of phenomena, and concrete enough to provide a detailed story of the specific mechanisms at work at a given energy scale. So will all of physics eventually converge on effective field theories? This paper argues that good scientific research can be characterised by a fruitful interaction between fundamental theories, phenomenological models and effective field theories. All of them have their appropriate functions in the research process, and all of them are indispensable. They complement each other and hang together in a coherent way which I shall characterise in some detail. To illustrate all this I will present a case study from nuclear and particle physics. The resulting view about scientific theorising is inherently pluralistic, and has implications for the debates about reductionism and scientific explanation.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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.
Citations of this work BETA
Michel Bitbol (2012). Downward Causation Without Foundations. Synthese 185 (2):233-255.
Karen Crowther (2013). Emergent Spacetime According to Effective Field Theory: From Top-Down and Bottom-Up. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):321-328.
Dean Rickles (2011). A Philosopher Looks at String Dualities. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (1):54-67.
Arianna Borrelli (2012). The Case of the Composite Higgs: The Model as a “Rosetta Stone” in Contemporary High-Energy Physics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 43 (3):195-214.
Sam Sanders (2013). Reverse-Engineering Reverse Mathematics. Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 164 (5):528-541.
Similar books and articles
Don Robinson (1992). Renormalization and the Effective Field Theory Programme. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:393 - 403.
Elena Castellani (2002). Reductionism, Emergence, and Effective Field Theories. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 33 (2):251-267.
Jonathan Bain (2013). Effective Field Theories. In Robert Batterman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oup Usa. 224.
Stephan Hartmann (1998). Idealization in Quantum Field Theory. In Niall Shanks (ed.), Idealization in Contemporary Physics. 99-122.
Stephan Hartmann (1995). Models as a Tool for Theory Construction: Some Strategies of Preliminary Physics. In William Herfel et al (ed.), Theories and Models in Scientific Processes. Rodopi.
Don Robinson (1994). The History and Philosophy of Quantum Field Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:61 - 68.
Reidar Krummradt Lie (1986). The 'Borderzone Zone' Controversy a Study of Theory Structure in Biomedicine. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 7 (3).
James T. Cushing (1990/2005). Theory Construction and Selection in Modern Physics: The S Matrix. Cambridge University Press.
Robert Klee (ed.) (1999). Scientific Inquiry: Readings in the Philosophy of Science. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads34 ( #54,096 of 1,100,004 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #40,751 of 1,100,004 )
How can I increase my downloads?