David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 57 (4):594-618 (1990)
This paper digests technical commonplaces of quantum field theory to present an informal interpretation of the theory by emphasizing its connections with the harmonic oscillator. The resulting "harmonic oscillator interpretation" enables newcomers to the subject to get some intuitive feel for the theory. The interpretation clarifies how the theory relates to observation and to quantum mechanical problems connected with observation. Finally the interpretation moves some way towards helping us see what the theory comes to physically. The paper also argues that, in important respects, interpretive problems of quantum field theory are problems we know well from conventional quantum mechanics. An important exception concerns extending the puzzles surrounding the superposition of properties in conventional quantum mechanics to an exactly parallel notion of superposition of particles. Conventional quantum mechanics seems incompatible with a classical notion of property on which all quantities always have definite values. Quantum field theory presents an exactly analogous problem with saying that the number of "particles" is always definite
|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
Michael Redhead & Paul Teller (1991). Particles, Particle Labels, and Quanta: The Toll of Unacknowledged Metaphysics. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 21 (1):43-62.
Similar books and articles
Guillaume Adenier (ed.) (2007). Quantum Theory, Reconsideration of Foundations 4: Växjö (Sweden), 11-16 June, 2007. American Institute of Physics.
Richard Healey (1989). The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics: An Interactive Interpretation. Cambridge University Press.
Paul Teller (1982). Comments on the Papers of Cushing and Redhead: "Models, High-Energy Theoretical Physics and Realism" and "Quantum Field Theory for Philosophers". PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:100 - 111.
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.
Harvey R. Brown & Rom Harré (eds.) (1988). Philosophical Foundations of Quantum Field Theory. Oxford University Press.
Peter Gibbins (1987). Particles and Paradoxes: The Limits of Quantum Logic. Cambridge University Press.
Edward MacKinnon (2007). Schwinger and the Ontology of Quantum Field Theory. Foundations of Science 12 (4):295-323.
Nick Huggett & Robert Weingard (1994). Interpretations of Quantum Field Theory. Philosophy of Science 61 (3):370-388.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads38 ( #53,135 of 1,410,537 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #178,988 of 1,410,537 )
How can I increase my downloads?