On the reality of gauge potentials

Philosophy of Science 68 (4):432-455 (2001)
Classically, a gauge potential was merely a convenient device for generating a corresponding gauge field. Quantum-mechanically, a gauge potential lays claim to independent status as a further feature of the physical situation. But whether this is a local or a global feature is not made any clearer by the variety of mathematical structures used to represent it. I argue that in the theory of electromagnetism (or a non-Abelian generalization) that describes quantum particles subject to a classical interaction, the gauge potential is best understood as a feature of the physical situation whose global character is most naturally represented by the holonomies of closed curves in space-time.
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DOI 10.1086/392936
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Holger Lyre (2008). Does the Higgs Mechanism Exist? International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (2):119-133.
Holger Lyre (2004). Holism and Structuralism in (1) Gauge Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 35 (4):643-670.
Gordon Belot (2003). Symmetry and Gauge Freedom. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 34 (2):189-225.
Richard Healey (2004). Gauge Theories and Holisms. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 35 (4):619-642.
Alexandre Guay (2008). A Partial Elucidation of the Gauge Principle. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 39 (2):346-363.

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