Does the Higgs mechanism exist?

Abstract
This paper explores the argument structure of the concept of spontaneous symmetry breaking in the electroweak gauge theory of the Standard Model: the so-called Higgs mechanism. As commonly understood, the Higgs argument is designed to introduce the masses of the gauge bosons by a spontaneous breaking of the gauge symmetry of an additional field, the Higgs field. The technical derivation of the Higgs mechanism, however, consists in a mere reshuffling of degrees of freedom by transforming the Higgs Lagrangian in a gauge-invariant manner. This already raises serious doubts about the adequacy of the entire manoeuvre. It will be shown that no straightforward ontic interpretation of the Higgs mechanism is tenable, since gauge transformations possess no real instantiations. In addition, the explanatory value of the Higgs argument will be critically examined.
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    Citations of this work BETA
    Ward Struyve (2011). Gauge Invariant Accounts of the Higgs Mechanism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (4):226-236.
    Dean Rickles (2011). A Philosopher Looks at String Dualities. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (1):54-67.
    Holger Lyre (2012). The Just-So Higgs Story: A Response to Adrian Wüthrich. [REVIEW] Journal for General Philosophy of Science 43 (2):289-294.

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