In defence of naiveté: The conceptual status of lagrangian quantum field theory

Synthese 151 (1):33 - 80 (2006)
Abstract
I analyse the conceptual and mathematical foundations of Lagrangian quantum field theory (QFT) (that is, the ‘naive’ (QFT) used in mainstream physics, as opposed to algebraic quantum field theory). The objective is to see whether Lagrangian (QFT) has a sufficiently firm conceptual and mathematical basis to be a legitimate object of foundational study, or whether it is too ill-defined. The analysis covers renormalisation and infinities, inequivalent representations, and the concept of localised states; the conclusion is that Lagrangian QFT (at least as described here) is a perfectly respectable physical theory, albeit somewhat different in certain respects from most of those studied in foundational work.
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David Baker & Hans Halvorson (2010). Antimatter. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):93-121.
Steven French (2012). Unitary Inequivalence as a Problem for Structural Realism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 43 (2):121-136.
David Wallace (2009). QFT, Antimatter, and Symmetry. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 40 (3):209-222.

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