Philosophical Aspects of Quantum Field Theory: II

Philosophy Compass 7 (8):571-584 (2012)
Abstract
According to a regnant criterion of physical equivalence for quantum theories, a quantum field theory (QFT) typically admits continuously many physically inequivalent realizations. This, the second of a two-part introduction to topics in the philosophy of QFT, continues the investigation of this alarming circumstance. It begins with a brief catalog of quantum field theoretic examples of this non-uniqueness, then presents the basics of the algebraic approach to quantum theories, which discloses a structure common even to ‘physically inequivalent’ realizations of a QFT. Finally, it introduces and evaluates a handful of strategies for interpreting quantum theories in the face of the non-uniqueness of their Hilbert space representations.
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