In her commentary of Field (1999), Hammerl (1999) has drawn attention to several interesting points concerning the issue of contingency awareness in evaluative conditioning. First, she comments on several contentious issues arising from Field's review of the evaluative conditioning literature, second she critiques the data from his pilot study and finally she argues the case that EC is a distinct form of conditioning that can occur in the absence of contingency awareness. With reference to these criticisms, this reply (...) attempts to address Hammerl's comments by exploring the issues of how awareness is defined, how it is best measured, and whether it is reasonable to believe that EC uniformly occurs in the absence of contingency awareness. The article concludes that the available evidence supports Field's proposition that EC is, in fact, Pavlovian learning. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the debate between substantival and relational theories of space-time, and discusses two difficulties that beset the relationalist: a difficulty posed by field theories, and another difficulty (discussed at greater length) called the problem of quantities. A main purpose of the paper is to argue that possibility can not always be used as a surrogate of ontology, and that in particular that there is no hope of using possibility to solve the problem of quantities.
Fulcher and Hammerl's (2001) important exploration of the role of contingency awareness in evaluative conditioning (EC) raises a lot of issues for discussion: (1) what boundaries, if any, exist between EC and affective learning paradigms?; (2) if EC does occur without awareness does this mean it is nonpropositional learning?; (3) is EC driven by stimulus-response (S-R), rather than stimulus-stimulus (S-S), associations and if so should it then surprise us that contingency awareness is not important?; and (4) if S-R associations are (...) at the heart of EC, should we automatically assume EC is part of a different learning mechanism to autonomic Pavlovian conditioning (Field, 2000a, 2000b)? This article, after a critical review of Fulcher and Hammerl's work, discusses these issues with reference to what can be realistically inferred about the mechanisms underlying EC. (shrink)
Quantum field theory (QFT) combines quantum mechanics with Einstein's special theory of relativity and underlies elementary particle physics. This book presents a philosophical analysis of QFT. It is the first treatise in which the philosophies of space-time, quantum phenomena, and particle interactions are encompassed in a unified framework. Describing the physics in nontechnical terms, and schematically illustrating complex ideas, the book also serves as an introduction to fundamental physical theories. The philosophical interpretation both upholds the reality of the quantum (...) world and acknowledges the irreducible cognitive elements in its representation. The interpretation is based on an analysis of our ways of thinking as the are embedded in the logical structure of QFT. The author argues that philosophical categories are significant only if they play active and essential roles in our knowledge and hence constitute part of the theories in actual use. Thus she regards physical theories as primary, extracts their categorical structure, and uses it to rethink key philosophical questions. Among the questions this book tries to answer are: What are the quantum properties independent of measurements? How do we refer to individual things in a continuous field? How do theories relate to objects? What are the general conditions of the world and of our ways of thinking that make possible our knowledge of the microscopic realm, which is so intangible and counterintuitive? As a penetrating analysis of vital themes in contemporary science, the book will engage the interest of students and professionals in physics and philosophy alike. (shrink)
Quantum field theory, one of the most rapidly developing areas of contemporary physics, is full of problems of great theoretical and philosophical interest. This collection of essays is the first systematic exploration of the nature and implications of quantum field theory. The contributors discuss quantum field theory from a wide variety of standpoints, exploring in detail its mathematical structure and metaphysical and methodological implications.
This essay considers the extent to which a concept of emergence can be associated with Effective Field Theories (EFTs). I suggest that such a concept can be characterized by microphysicalism and novelty underwritten by the elimination of degrees of freedom from a high-energy theory, and argue that this makes emergence in EFTs distinct from other concepts of emergence in physics that have appeared in the recent philosophical literature.
Philosophy of mathematics for the last half-century has been dominated in one way or another by Quine’s indispensability argument. The argument alleges that our best scientific theory quantifies over, and thus commits us to, mathematical objects. In this paper, I present new considerations which undermine the most serious challenge to Quine’s argument, Hartry Field’s reformulation of Newtonian Gravitational Theory.
Mosquito-borne diseases take a tremendous toll on human populations, especially in developing nations. In the last decade, scientists have developed mosquitoes that have been genetically modified to prevent transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, and field trials have been conducted. Some mosquitoes have been rendered infertile, some have been equipped with a vaccine they transmit to humans, and some have been designed to resist diseases. This article focuses on ethical issues raised by field trials of disease-resistant, genetically modified mosquitoes. Some (...) of these issues include: protecting the public and the environment from harm, balancing benefits and risks, collaborating with the local community, avoiding exploitation, and safeguarding the rights and welfare of research subjects. One of the most difficult problems involves protecting the welfare of community members who will be impacted by the release of mosquitoes but who are not enrolled in the study as research subjects. To address this concern, field trials should take place only when the targeted disease is a significant public health problem in an isolated area, the benefits of the trial for the community are likely to outweigh the risks, community leaders approve of the trial, and there are measures in place to protect the welfare of un-enrolled community members, such as informing the community about the study and offering free treatment to people who contract mosquito-borne diseases. Since the justification of any field trial depends on a careful examination of the scientific and ethical issues, proposed studies should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
This study looks at some of the traits that characterized Argentina’s scientific and university policies under the military regime that spanned from 1976 through 1983. To this end, it delves into a rarely explored empirical observation: financial resource transfers from national universities to the National Scientific and Technological Research Council (CONICET, for its Spanish acronym) during that period. The intention is to show how, by reallocating funds geared to Science and Technology, CONICET was made to expand and decentralize to the (...) detriment of universities. This was the primary tool used by the military regime to thwart higher education’s research development, bolstering research efforts at other realms. Thus, CONICET grew in budget, number of researchers, and staff size, creating new research institutes, while national universities struggled with reduced funding and were forced to shut down their institutes and programs. As a result, CONICET virtually concentrated all scientific research, foregoing the knowledge accumulated at universities, which drove a wedge between both institutions. This military approach to science and technology policy-making is discussed, bearing in mind the notion of dependence—both in terms of the state’s intervention in the inner workings of the scientific-university field as well as regarding the role played by international financial support in scientific research development. (shrink)
Methods developed in a previous paper are employed to define an exact correspondence between the states of a deterministic cellular automaton in 1+1 dimensions and those of a bosonic quantum field theory. The result may be used to argue that quantum field theories may be much closer related to deterministic automata than what is usually thought possible.
This paper will examine the implications of an extended “field theory of information,” suggested by Wolfhart Pannenberg, specifically in the Christian understanding of creation. The paper argues that the Holy Spirit created the world as field, a concept from physics, and the creation is directed by the logos utilizing information. Taking into account more recent developments of information theory, the essay further suggests that present creation has a causal impact upon the information utilized in creation. In order to (...) adequately address Pannenberg's hypothesis that the logos utilizes information at creation the essay will also include an introductory examination of Pannenberg's Christology which shifts from a strict “from below” Christology, to a more open “third way” of doing Christology beyond “above” and “below.” The essay concludes with a brief section relating the implications of an extended “field theory of information” to creative inspiration, as well as parallels with human inspiration. (shrink)
I argue that algebraic quantum field theory (AQFT) permits an undisturbed view of the right ontology for fundamental physics, whereas standard (or Lagrangian) QFT offers different mutually incompatible ontologies.My claim does not depend on the mathematical inconsistency of standard QFT but on the fact that AQFT has the same concerns as ontology, namely categorical parsimony and a clearly structured hierarchy of entities.
Quantum field theory (QFT) presents a genuine example of the underdetermination of theory by empirical evidence. There are variants of QFT—for example, the standard textbook formulation and the rigorous axiomatic formulation—that are empirically indistinguishable yet support different interpretations. This case is of particular interest to philosophers of physics because, before the philosophical work of interpreting QFT can proceed, the question of which variant should be subject to interpretation must be settled. New arguments are offered for basing the interpretation of (...) QFT on a rigorous axiomatic variant of the theory. The pivotal considerations are the roles that consistency and idealization play in this case. *Received June 2009; revised August 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
This article argues that Laszlo's concept of the Akashic Field (A-field) does not render the concept of reincarnation either redundant or unnecessary, that reincarnation is a fact of nature, something the universe is doing at this stage of its evolution. Not only is Laszlo's theory compatible with the concept of rebirth, it actually strengthens that theory by clarifying some of the processes involved. This article presents a rationale for the belief that through reincarnation the universe is giving birth (...) to a transpersonal individuality that does endure outside space-time and is not dissolved back into the quantum vacuum. (shrink)
Most philosophical discussion of the particle concept that is afforded by quantum field theory has focused on free systems. This paper is devoted to a systematic investigation of whether the particle concept for free systems can be extended to interacting systems. The possible methods of accomplishing this are considered and all are found unsatisfactory. Therefore, an interacting system cannot be interpreted in terms of particles. As a consequence, quantum field theory does not support the inclusion of particles in (...) our ontology. In contrast to much of the recent discussion on the particle concept derived from quantum field theory, this argument does not rely on the assumption that a particulate entity be localizable. (shrink)
By means of a citation analysis I aim to determine which scholarly journals are most important in the sub-field of philosophy of science. My analysis shows that the six most important journals in the sub-field are Philosophy of Science , British Journal for the Philosophy of Science , Journal of Philosophy , Synthese , Studies in History and Philosophy of Science , and Erkenntnis . Given the data presented in this study, there is little evidence that there is (...) such a field as the history and philosophy of science (HPS). Rather, philosophy of science is most properly conceived of as a sub-field of philosophy. (shrink)
Hartry Field's formulation of an epistemological argument against platonism is only valid if knowledge is constrained by a causal clause. Contrary to recent claims (e.g. in Liggins (2006), Liggins (2010)), Field's argument therefore fails the very same criterion usually taken to discredit Benacerraf's earlier version.
Although the philosophical literature on the foundations of quantum field theory recognizes the importance of Haag’s theorem, it does not provide a clear discussion of the meaning of this theorem. The goal of this paper is to make up for this deficit. In particular, it aims to set out the implications of Haag’s theorem for scattering theory, the interaction picture, the use of non-Fock representations in describing interacting fields, and the choice among the plethora of the unitarily inequivalent representations (...) of the canonical commutation relations for free and interacting fields. (shrink)
This article summarizes a variety of current as well as previous research in support of a new theory of consciousness. Evidence has been steadily accumulating that information about a stimulus complex is distributed to many neuronal populations dispersed throughout the brain and is represented by the departure from randomness of the temporal pattern of neural discharges within these large ensembles. Zero phase lag synchronization occurs between discharges of neurons in different brain regions and is enhanced by presentation of stimuli. This (...) evidence further suggests that spatiotemporal patterns of coherence, which have been identified by spatial principal component analysis, may encode a multidimensional representation of a present or past event. How such distributed information is integrated into a holistic percept constitutes the binding problem. How a percept defined by a spatial distribution of nonrandomness can be subjectively experienced constitutes the problem of consciousness. Explanations based on a discrete connectionistic network cannot be reconciled with the relevant facts. Evidence is presented herein of invariant features of brain electrical activity found to change reversibly with loss and return of consciousness in a study of 176 patients anesthetized during surgical procedures. A review of relevant research areas, as well as the anesthesia data, leads to a postulation that consciousness is a property of quantumlike processes, within a brain field resonating within a core of structures, which may be the neural substrate of consciousness. This core includes regions of the prefrontal cortex, the frontal cortex, the pre- and paracentral cortex, thalamus, limbic system, and basal ganglia. (shrink)
The availability of unitarily inequivalent representations of the canonical commutation relations constituting a quantization of a classical field theory raises questions about how to formulate and pursue quantum field theory. In a minimally technical way, I explain how these questions arise and how advocates of the Hilbert space and of the algebraic approaches to quantum theory might answer them. Where these answers differ, I sketch considerations for and against each approach, as well as considerations which might temper their (...) apparent rivalry. (shrink)
According to Field’s influential incompleteness objection, Tarski’s semantic theory of truth is unsatisfactory since the definition that forms its basis is incomplete in two distinct senses: (1) it is physicalistically inadequate, and for this reason, (2) it is conceptually deficient. In this paper, I defend the semantic theory of truth against the incompleteness objection by conceding (1) but rejecting (2). After arguing that Davidson and McDowell’s reply to the incompleteness objection fails to pass muster, I argue that, within the (...) constraints of a non-reductive physicalism and a holism concerning the concepts of truth, reference and meaning, conceding Field’s physicalistic inadequacy conclusion while rejecting his conceptual deficiency conclusion is a promising reply to the incompleteness objection. (shrink)
I examine some problems standing in the way of a successful 'field interpretation' of quantum field theory. The most popular extant proposal depends on the Hilbert space of 'wavefunctionals.' But since wavefunctional space is unitarily equivalent to many-particle Fock space, two of the most powerful arguments against particle interpretations also undermine this form of field interpretation.
In a reading group, we’ve been working through the first three parts of Field’s Saving Truth from Paradox, by the end of which he has presented his core proposals. At this point, we’ve now rather lost the will to continue – for this is an astonishingly badly written book, which makes ridiculous demands on the patience of even a sympathetic reader. It so happened that it fell to me to introduce the last two chapters in Part III, Ch. 17 (...) in which Field rounds out his key technical construction, and Ch. 18, ‘What Has Been Done’. I talked mainly about the latter. Here, for what they are worth, are some very quickly written reflections on what has and hasn’t been achieved. (shrink)
The concept of the receptive field, first articulated by Hartline, is central to visual neuroscience. The receptive field of a neuron encompasses the spatial and temporal properties of stimuli that activate the neuron, and, as Hubel and Wiesel conceived of it, a neuron’s receptive field is static. This makes it possible to build models of neural circuits and to build up more complex receptive fields out of simpler ones. Recent work in visual neurophysiology is providing evidence that (...) the classical receptive field is an inaccurate picture. The receptive field seems to be a dynamic feature of the neuron. In particular, the receptive field of neurons in V1 seems to be dependent on the properties of the stimulus. In this paper, we review the history of the concept of the receptive field and the problematic data. We then consider a number of possible theoretical responses to these data. (shrink)
Algebraic quantum field theory provides a general, mathematically precise description of the structure of quantum field theories, and then draws out consequences of this structure by means of various mathematical tools -- the theory of operator algebras, category theory, etc.. Given the rigor and generality of AQFT, it is a particularly apt tool for studying the foundations of QFT. This paper is a survey of AQFT, with an orientation towards foundational topics. In addition to covering the basics of (...) the theory, we discuss issues related to nonlocality, the particle concept, the field concept, and inequivalent representations. We also provide a detailed account of the analysis of superselection rules by Doplicher, Haag, and Roberts (DHR); and we give an alternative proof of Doplicher and Robert's reconstruction of fields and gauge group from the category of physical representations of the observable algebra. The latter is based on unpublished ideas due to J. E. Roberts and the abstract duality theorem for symmetric tensor *-categories, a self-contained proof of which is given in the appendix. (shrink)
Philosophical interpretations of theories generally presuppose that a theory can be presented as a consistent mathematical formulation that is interpreted through models. Algebraic quantum field theory (AQFT) can fit this interpretative model. However, standard Lagrangian quantum field theory (LQFT), as well as quantum electrodynamics and nuclear physics, resists recasting along such formal lines. The difference has a distinct bearing on ontological issues. AQFT does not treat particle interactions or the standard model. This paper develops a framework and methodology (...) for interpreting such informal theories as LQFT and the standard model. We begin by summarizing two minimal epistemological interpretation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics (NRQM): Bohrian semantics, which focuses on communicables; and quantum information theory, which focuses on the algebra of local observables. Schwinger's development of quantum field theory supplies a unique path from NRQM to QFT, where each step is conceptually anchored in local measurements. LQFT and the standard model rely on postulates that go beyond the limits set by AQFT and Schwinger's anabatic methodology. The particle ontology of the standard model is clarified by regarding the standard model as an informal modular theory with a limited range of validity. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
An epistemological interpretation of quantum mechanics hinges on the claim that the distinctive features of quantum mechanics can be derived from some distinctive features of an observational basis. Old and new variations of this theme are listed. The program has a limited success in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. The crucial issue is how far it can be extended to quantum field theory without introducing significant ontological postulates. A C*-formulation covers algebraic quantum field theory, but not the standard model. Julian (...) Schwinger’s anabatic methodology extended a strict measurement-based formulation of quantum mechanics through field theory. His extension also excluded the quark hypothesis and the standard model. Quarks and local gauge invariance are postulates that go beyond the limits of an epistemological interpretation of quantum mechanics. The ontological significance ascribed to these advances depends on the role accorded ontology. (shrink)
As is well known, Einstein was dissatisfied with the foundation of quantum theory and sought to find a basis for it that would have satisfied his need for a causal explanation. In this paper this abandoned idea is investigated. It is found that it is mathematically not dead at all. More in particular: a quantum mechanical U(1) gauge invariant Dirac equation can be derived from Einstein's gravity field equations. We ask ourselves what it means for physics, the history of (...) physics and for the actual discussion on foundations. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to challenge the rather insouciant attitude that many investigators seem to adopt when they go about describing the items and events in their "visual fields". There are at least three distinct categories of interpretation of what these reports might mean, and only under one of those categories do those reports have anything resembling an observational character. The others demand substantive revisions in one's beliefs about what one sees. The ur-concept of a "visual field" (...) is that of the "sum of things seen", but one can interpret the latter in very different ways. The first is the "field of view", or the sum of physical things seen. The second is an array of visual impressions, whose spatial relations are distinct from those of physical phenomena in front of the eyes. The third is an intentional object: the world as it is represented visually. These three categories are described, and various locutions of vision science--such as "optic array", "retinocentric space", "visual geometry", "virtual object" and others--are analyzed and variously located within them. Finally, a recent argument purporting to necessitate the existence of a version two visual field is examined and shown wanting. (shrink)
Much attention has been directed to the philosophical implications of quantum field theory (QFT) in recent years; this paper attempts a survey in low-technical terms. First the relations of QFT to other kinds of theory, classical and quantum, particle and field, are discussed. Then various formulations of QFT are introduced, along with related interpretations. Finally a review is made of some of the most interesting foundational problems.
The field comprising both the theory and practice of struggles over recognition developed over the last 50 years in relative independence of the parallel field of deliberative and agonistic democracy. Over the last decade these two fields, in both theory and practice, have merged because courts, legislatures, ministries and rival armies around the world have often turned the reconciliation of struggles over recognition over to various institutions and practices of negotiation and deliberation. The result is the emergence of (...) a new hybrid field of recognition and dialogue. This paper is a critical examination of the emergence and the strengths and weaknesses of this new and important field of politics and law. (shrink)
This paper presents two interpretations of the fiber bundle formalism that is applicable to all gauge field theories. The constructionist interpretation yields a substantival spacetime. The analytic interpretation yields a structural spacetime, a third option besides the familiar substantivalism and relationalism. That the same mathematical formalism can be derived in two different ways leading to two different ontological interpretations reveals the inadequacy of pure formal arguments.
The metaphysical commitments of quantum field theory are examined. A thesis of underdetermination as between field and particle approaches to the "elementary particles" is argued for but only if a disputed notion of transcendental individuality is admitted. The superiority of the field approach is further emphasized in the context of heuristics.
I discuss issues concerning the philosophical foundations andimplications of quantum field theory, renormalization inparticular. A new understanding of the correspondence principle,an unexpected role of perturbation theory and, most of all, acriterion to reduce the set of consistent theories frominfinitely many to finitely many, are the key concepts of atheoretical set-up that appears to overcome in a natural wayvarious consistency problems of quantum mechanics and offerseveral hints for further developments.
The simplest case of quantum field theory on curved spacetime-that of the Klein-Gordon field on a globally hyperbolic spacetime-reveals a dilemma: In generic circumstances, either there is no dynamics for this quantum field, or else there is a dynamics that is not unitarily implementable. We do not try to resolve the dilemma here, but endeavour to spell out the consequences of seizing one or the other horn of the dilemma.
According to a Received View, relativistic quantum field theories (RQFTs) do not admit particle interpretations. This view requires that particles be localizable and countable, and that these characteristics be given mathematical expression in the forms of local and unique total number operators. Various results (the Reeh-Schlieder theorem, the Unruh Effect, Haag's theorem) then indicate that formulations of RQFTs do not support such operators. These results, however, do not hold for nonrelativistic QFTs. I argue that this is due to the (...) absolute structure of the classical spacetimes associated with such theories. This suggests that the intuitions that underlie the Received View are non-relativistic. Thus, to the extent that such intuitions are inappropriate in the relativistic context, they should be abandoned when it comes to interpreting RQFTs. (shrink)
Abstract The paper uses the tools of mereotopology (the theory of parts, wholes and boundaries) to work out the implications of certain analogies between the 'ecological psychology' of J. J Gibson and the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. It presents an ontological theory of spatial boundaries and of spatially extended entities. By reference to examples from the geographical sphere it is shown that both boundaries and extended entities fall into two broad categories: those which exist independently of our cognitive acts (for (...) example, the planet Earth, its exterior surface); and those which exist only in virtue of such acts (for example: the equator, the North Sea). The visual field, too, can be conceived as an example of an extended entity that is dependent in the sense at issue. The paper suggests extending this analogy by postulating entities which would stand to true judgments as the visual field stands to acts of visual perception. The judgment field is defined more precisely as that complex extended entity which comprehends all entities which are relevant to the truth of a given (true) judgment. The work of cognitive linguists such as Talmy and Langacker, when properly interpreted, can be shown to yield a detailed account of the structures of the judgment fields corresponding to sentences of different sorts. A new sort of correspondence-theoretic definition of truth for sentences of natural language can then be formulated on this basis. (shrink)
Abstract In the present article, we provide a critical overview of the emerging field of ‘neuroeducation’ also frequently referred to as ‘mind, brain and education’ or ‘educational neuroscience’. We describe the growing energy behind linking education and neuroscience in an effort to improve learning and instruction. We explore reasons behind such drives for interdisciplinary research. Reviewing some of the key advances in neuroscientific studies that have come to bear on neuroeducation, we discuss recent evidence on the brain circuits underlying (...) reading, mathematical abilities as well as the potential to use neuroscience to design training programs of neurocognitive functions, such as working memory, that are expected to have effects on overall brain function. Throughout this review we describe how such research can enrich our understanding of the acquisition of academic skills. Furthermore, we discuss the potential for modern brain imaging methods to serve as diagnostic tools as well as measures of the effects of educational interventions. Throughout this discussion, we draw attention to limitations of the available evidence and propose future avenues for research. We also discuss the challenges that face this growing discipline. Specifically, we draw attention to unrealistic expectations for the immediate impact of neuroscience on education, methodological difficulties, and lack of interdisciplinary training, which results in poor communication between educators and neuroscientists. We point out that there should be bi-directional and reciprocal interactions between both disciplines of neuroscience and education, in which research originating from each of these traditions is considered to be compelling in its own right. While there are many obstacles that lie in the way of a productive field of neuroeducation, we contend that there is much reason to be optimistic and that the groundwork has been laid to advance this field in earnest. Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-13 DOI 10.1007/s12152-011-9119-3 Authors Daniel Ansari, Numerical Cognition Laboratory, Department of Psychology, The University of Western Ontario, Westminster Hall, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada Bert De Smedt, Parenting and Special Education Research Group, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium Roland H. Grabner, Institute for Behavioral Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland Journal Neuroethics Online ISSN 1874-5504 Print ISSN 1874-5490. (shrink)
The recent work of Paul Teller and Sunny Auyang in the philosophy of Quantum Field Theory (QFT) has stimulated the search for the fundamental entities in this theory. In QFT, the classical notion of a particle collapses. The theory does not only exclude classical, i.e., spatiotemporally identifiable particles, but it makes particles of the same type conceptually indistinguishable. Teller and Auyang have proposed competing ersatz-ontologies to account for the 'loss of particles': field quanta vs. field events. Both (...) ontologies, however, suffer from serious defects. While quanta lack numerical identity, spatiotemporal localizability, and independence of basis-representations, events--if understood as concrete measurement events--are related to the theory only statistically. I propose an alternative solution: The entities of QFT are events of the type 'Quantum system, S, is in quantum state, Ψ '. These are not point events, but Davidsonian events, i.e., they can be identified by their location within the causal net of the world. (shrink)
In this paper I put forward a suggestion for identifying causality in micro-systems with the specific quantum field theoretic interactions that occur in such systems. I first argue — along the lines of general transference theories — that such a physicalistic account is essential to an understanding of causation; I then proceed to sketch the concept of interaction as it occurs in quantum field theory and I do so from both a formal and an informal point of view. (...) Finally, I present reasons for thinking that only a quantum field theoretic account can do the job — in particular I rely on a theorem by D. Currie and to the effect that interaction cannot be described in (a Hamiltonian formulation of) Classical Mechanics. Throughout the paper I attempt to suggest that the widespread scepticism about the ability of quantum theory to support a theory of causality is mistaken and rests on several misunderstandings. (shrink)
Relativistic quantum field theories (RQFTs) are invariant under the action of the Poincaré group, the symmetry group of Minkowski spacetime. Non-relativistic quantum field theories (NQFTs) are invariant under the action of the symmetry group of a classical spacetime; i.e., a spacetime that minimally admits absolute spatial and temporal metrics. This essay is concerned with cashing out two implications of this basic difference. First, under a Received View, RQFTs do not admit particle interpretations. I will argue that the concept (...) of particle that informs this view is motivated by nonrelativistic intuitions associated with the structure of classical spacetimes, and hence should be abandoned. Second, the relations between RQFTs and NQFTs also suggest that routes to quantum gravity are more varied than is typically acknowledged. The second half of this essay is concerned with mapping out some of this conceptual space. (shrink)
What is the relation between philosophical theorizing and experimental data? A modest set of naturalistic assumptions leads to what I term the force-field puzzle. The assumption that philosophy is continuous with natural science, as captured in Quine’s force-field metaphor, seems to push us simultaneously towards thinking that there have to be conceptual constraints upon how we interpret experimental data and towards thinking that there cannot be such conceptual constraints, because all theorizing must be accountable to data and observation. (...) The key to resolving the force-field puzzle is to take a more nuanced view of how conceptual constraints can be accountable to data and observation. This can be done by developing conceptual arguments in conjunction with interpretative frameworks for making sense of experimental evidence. This paper shows how attending to important differences between different types of mindreading yields tools for interpreting experimental and observational data in a manner consistent with a (conceptually derived) constraint that I have developed elsewhere. This is the first-order constraint that second-order thinking, or thinking about thinking, is only available to language-using creatures. (shrink)
Entanglement has long been the subject of discussion by philosophers of quantum theory, and has recently come to play an essential role for physicists in their development of quantum information theory. In this paper we show how the formalism of algebraic quantum field theory (AQFT) provides a rigorous framework within which to analyse entanglement in the context of a fully relativistic formulation of quantum theory. What emerges from the analysis are new practical and theoretical limitations on an experimenter's ability (...) to perform operations on a field in one spacetime region that can disentangle its state from the state of the field in other spacelike-separated regions. These limitations show just how deeply entrenched entanglement is in relativistic quantum field theory, and yield a fresh perspective on the ways in which the theory differs conceptually from both standard non-relativistic quantum theory and classical relativistic field theory. (shrink)
In this paper we critically review the various attempts that have been made to understand quantum field theory. We focus on Teller's (1990) harmonic oscillator interpretation, and Bohm et al.'s (1987) causal interpretation. The former unabashedly aims to be a purely heuristic account, but we show that it is only interestingly applicable to the free bosonic field. Along the way we suggest alternative models. Bohm's interpretation provides an ontology for the theory--a classical field, with a quantum equation (...) of motion. This too has problems; it is not Lorentz invariant. (shrink)
The status of the vacuum in relativistic quantum field theory is examined. A sharp distinction arises between the global vacuum and the local vacuum. The concept of local number density is critically assessed. The global vacuum state implies fluctuations for all local observables. Correlations between such fluctuations in space-like separated regions of space-time are discussed and the existence of correlations which are maximal in a certain sense is remarked on, independently of how far apart those regions may be. The (...) analogy with the mirror-image correlations in the singlet state of two spin-1/2 particles is explained. The connection between these maximal correlations and the well-known violation of the Bell inequality in the vacuum state is discussed, together with the way in which the existence of these correlations might be exploited in developing a vacuum version of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen argument. The recent relativistic formulation of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen argument by Ghirardi and Grassi is critically assessed with particular reference to the vacuum case. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Ervin Laszlo's revolutionary concept of the Akashic Field and his connectivity hypothesis offer elegant solutions for the baffling paradoxes associated with "anomalous phenomena" - otherwise unexplainable observations which many scientific disciplines encountered in the course of the 20th century. This article explores the ground-breaking contributions that Laszlo's work has made to psychology by providing a plausible conceptual framework for a large number of observations and experiences amassed by modern consciousness research, which challenge the most fundamental assumptions of the traditional (...) scientific worldview. (shrink)
Hartry Field's revised logic for the theory of truth in his new book, Saving Truth from Paradox , seeking to preserve Tarski's T-scheme, does not admit a full theory of negation. In response, Crispin Wright proposed that the negation of a proposition is the proposition saying that some proposition inconsistent with the first is true. For this to work, we have to show that this proposition is entailed by any proposition incompatible with the first, that is, that it is (...) the weakest proposition incompatible with the proposition whose negation it should be. To show that his proposal gave a full intuitionist theory of negation, Wright appealed to two principles, about incompatibility and entailment, and using them Field formulated a paradox of validity (or more precisely, of inconsistency). The medieval mathematician, theologian and logician, Thomas Bradwardine, writing in the fourteenth century, proposed a solution to the paradoxes of truth which does not require any revision of logic. The key principle behind Bradwardine's solution is a pluralist doctrine of meaning, or signification, that propositions can mean more than they explicitly say. In particular, he proposed that signification is closed under entailment. In light of this, Bradwardine revised the truth-rules, in particular, refining the T-scheme, so that a proposition is true only if everything that it signifies obtains. Thereby, he was able to show that any proposition which signifies that it itself is false, also signifies that it is true, and consequently is false and not true. I show that Bradwardine's solution is also able to deal with Field's paradox and others of a similar nature. Hence Field's logical revisions are unnecessary to save truth from paradox. (shrink)
An effective field theory (EFT) of a physical system is a theory of the dynamics of the system at energies small compared to a given cutoff. For some systems, low-energy states with respect to this cutoff are effectively independent of ("decoupled from") states at high energies. Hence one may study the low-energy sector of the theory without the need for a detailed description of the high-energy sector. Systems that admit EFTs appear in both relativistic quantum field theory (RQFT) (...) and condensed matter physics. In some cases, the high-energy theory is known and the effective theory may be obtained by a process in which high-energy effects are systematically eliminated. In other cases, the high-energy theory may not be known, and the effective theory may then be obtained by imposing symmetry and "naturalness" constraints on candidate Langrangians. Many physicists currently believe that the Standard Model of particle physics is an example of such a bottom-up EFT. In both cases, the nature of the intertheoretic relation between an EFT and its (possibly hypothetical) high-energy theory is complex and arguably cannot be described in terms of standard accounts of reduction. This essay provides a review of this relation and what it suggests about the ontological status of EFTs and the extent to which the notion of emergence can be associated with them. Keywords: effective field theory, quantum field theory, renormalization, emergence.. (shrink)
The biochemistry of geotropism in plants and gravisensing in e.g. cyanobacteria or paramacia is still not well understood today . Perhaps there are more ways than one for organisms to sense gravity. The two best known relatively old explanations for gravity sensing are sensing through the redistribution of cellular starch statoliths and sensing through redistribution of auxin. The starch containing statoliths in a gravity field produce pressure on the endoplasmic reticulum of the cell. This enables the cell to sense (...) direction. Alternatively, there is the redistribution of auxin under the action of gravity. This is known as the Cholodny-Went hypothesis , . The latter redistribution coincides with a redistribution of electrical charge in the cell. With the present study the aim is to add a mathematical unified field explanation to gravisensing. (shrink)
The physics and metaphysics of quantum field theory Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9609-2 Authors Federico Laudisa, Department of Human Sciences “R. Massa”, University of Milan-Bicocca, Piazza Ateneo Nuovo 1, 20126 Milan, Italy Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
In approaching Ch. 4 of Saving Truth from Paradox, it might be helpful first to revisit Curry’s original paper, and to revisit Lukasiewicz too, to provide more of the scenesetting that Field doesn’t himself fill in. So in §1 I’ll say something about Curry, in §2 we’ll look at what Lukasiewicz was up to in his original three-valued logic, and in §3 we’ll look at the move from a three-valued to a many-valued Lukasiewicz logic. In §4, I move on (...) to announce a theorem by H´. (shrink)
Effective field theories have been a very popular tool in quantum physics for almost two decades. And there are good reasons for this. I will argue that effective field theories share many of the advantages of both fundamental theories and phenomenological models, while avoiding their respective shortcomings. They are, for example, flexible enough to cover a wide range of phenomena, and concrete enough to provide a detailed story of the specific mechanisms at work at a given energy scale. (...) So will all of physics eventually converge on effective field theories? This paper argues that good scientific research can be characterised by a fruitful interaction between fundamental theories, phenomenological models and effective field theories. All of them have their appropriate functions in the research process, and all of them are indispensable. They complement each other and hang together in a coherent way which I shall characterise in some detail. To illustrate all this I will present a case study from nuclear and particle physics. The resulting view about scientific theorising is inherently pluralistic, and has implications for the debates about reductionism and scientific explanation. (shrink)
This dissertation reconsiders some traditional issues in the foundations of quantum mechanics in the context of relativistic quantum field theory (RQFT); and it considers some novel foundational issues that arise first in the context of RQFT. The first part of the dissertation considers quantum nonlocality in RQFT. Here I show that the generic state of RQFT displays Bell correlations relative to measurements performed in any pair of spacelike separated regions, no matter how distant. I also show that local systems (...) in RQFT are "open" to influence from their environment, in the sense that it is generally impossible to perform local operations that would remove the entanglement between a local system and any other spacelike separated system. The second part of the dissertation argues that RQFT does not support a particle ontology -- at least if particles are understood to be localizable objects. In particular, while RQFT permits us to describe situations in which a determinate number of particles are present, it does not permit us to speak of the location of any individual particle, nor of the number of particles in any particular region of space. Nonetheless, the absence of localizable particles in RQFT does not threaten the integrity of our commonsense concept of a localized object. Indeed, RQFT itself predicts that descriptions in terms of localized objects can be quite accurate on the macroscopic level. The third part of the dissertation examines the so-called observer-dependence of the particle concept in RQFT -- that is, whether there are any particles present must be relativized to an observer's state of motion. Now, it is not uncommon for modern physical theories to subsume observer-dependent descriptions under a more general observer-independent description of some underlying state of affairs. However, I show that the conflicting accounts concerning the particle content of the field cannot be reconciled in this way. In fact, I argue that these conflicting accounts should be thought of as "complementary" in the same sense that position and momentum descriptions are complementary in elementary quantum mechanics. (shrink)
The survival and development of consciousness in biological evolution call for an explanation. An interactionistic mind-brain theory seems to have the greatest explanatory value in this context. An interpretation of an interactionistic hypothesis, recently proposed by Karl Popper, is discussed both theoretically and based on recent experimental data. In the interpretation, the distinction between the conscious mind and the brain is seen as a division into what is subjective and what is objective, and not as an ontological distinction between something (...) immaterial and something material. The interactionistic hypothesis is based on similarities between minds and physical forces. The conscious mind is understood to interact with randomly spontaneous spatio-temporal patterns of action potentials through an electromagnetic field. Consequences and suggestions for future studies are discussed. (shrink)
In Science without numbers Hartry Field attempted to formulate a nominalist version of Newtonian physics?one free of ontic commitment to numbers, functions or sets?sufficiently strong to have the standard platonist version as a conservative extension. However, when uses for abstract entities kept popping up like hydra heads, Field enriched his logic to avoid them. This paper reviews some of Field's attempts to deflate his ontology by inflating his logic.
CPT invariance and the spin-statistics connection are typically taken to be essential properties in relativistic quantum field theories (RQFTs), insofar as the CPT and Spin-Statistics theorems entail that any state of a physical system characterized by an RQFT must possess these properties. Moreover, in the physics literature, they are typically taken to be properties of particles. But there is a Received View among philosophers that RQFTs cannot fundamentally be about particles. This essay considers what proofs of the CPT and (...) Spin-Statistics theorems suggest about the ontology of RQFTs, and the extent to which this is compatible with the Received View. I will argue that such proofs suggest the Received View’s approach to ontology is flawed. (shrink)
Philosophical reflection on quantum field theory has tended to focus on how it revises our conception of what a particle is. However, there has been relatively little discussion of the threat to the ‘reality’ of particles posed by the possibility of inequivalent quantizations of a classical field theory, i.e. inequivalent representations of the algebra of observables of the field in terms of operators on a Hilbert space. The threat is that each representation embodies its own distinctive conception (...) of what a particle is, and how a ‘particle’ will respond to a suitably operated detector. Our main goal is to clarify the subtle relationship between inequivalent representations of a field theory and their associated particle concepts. We also have a particular interest in the Minkowski versus Rindler quantizations of a free Boson field, because they respectively entail two radically different descriptions of the particle content of the field in the very same region of spacetime. We shall defend the idea that these representations provide complementary descriptions of the same state of the field against the claim that they embody completely incommensurable theories of the field. (shrink)
This paper explores various functions of idealizations in quantum field theory. To this end it is important to first distinguish between different kinds of theories and models of or inspired by quantum field theory. Idealizations have pragmatic and cognitive functions. Analyzing a case-study from hadron physics, I demonstrate the virtues of studying highly idealized models for exploring the features of theories with an extremely rich structure such as quantum field theory and for gaining some understanding of the (...) physical processes in the system under consideration. (shrink)
We present a logically detailed case-study of explanation and prediction in Newtonian mechanics. The case in question is that of a planet’s elliptical orbit in the Sun’s gravitational field. Care is taken to distinguish the respective contributions of the mathematics that is being applied, and of the empirical hypotheses that receive a mathematical formulation. This enables one to appreciate how in this case the overall logical structure of scientific explanation and prediction is exactly in accordance with the hypotheticodeductive model.
An embodied movement-planning field cannot account for behavior and cognition more abstract than that of reaching. Instead, we propose an affordance field, and we sketch how it could enhance the analysis of the A-not-B error, underlie cognition, and serve as a base for language. Admittedly, a dynamic systems account of an affordance field awaits significant further development.
Many of the "counterintuitive" features of relativistic quantum field theory have their formal root in the Reeh-Schlieder theorem, which in particular entails that local operations applied to the vacuum state can produce any state of the entire field. It is of great interest then that I.E. Segal and, more recently, G. Fleming (in a paper entitled "Reeh-Schlieder meets Newton-Wigner") have proposed an alternative "Newton-Wigner" localization scheme that avoids the Reeh-Schlieder theorem. In this paper, I reconstruct the Newton-Wigner localization (...) scheme and clarify the limited extent to which it avoids the counterintuitive consequences of the Reeh-Schlieder theorem. I also argue that there is no coherent interpretation of the Newton-Wigner localization scheme that renders it free from act-outcome correlations at spacelike separation. (shrink)
Classical and quantum field theory provide not only realistic examples of extant notions of empirical equivalence, but also new notions of empirical equivalence, both modal and occurrent. A simple but modern gravitational case goes back to the 1890s, but there has been apparently total neglect of the simplest relativistic analog, with the result that an erroneous claim has taken root that Special Relativity could not have accommodated gravity even if there were no bending of light. The fairly recent acceptance (...) of nonzero neutrino masses shows that widely neglected possibilities for nonzero particle masses have sometimes been vindicated. In the electromagnetic case, there is permanent underdetermination at the classical and quantum levels between Maxwell's theory and the one-parameter family of Proca's electromagnetisms with massive photons, which approximate Maxwell's theory in the limit of zero photon mass. While Yang–Mills theories display similar approximate equivalence classically, quantization typically breaks this equivalence. A possible exception, including unified electroweak theory, might permit a mass term for the photons but not the Yang–Mills vector bosons. Underdetermination between massive and massless (Einstein) gravity even at the classical level is subject to contemporary controversy. (shrink)
This essay touches on a number of topics in philosophy of quantum field theory from the point of view of the LSZ asymptotic approach to scattering theory. First, particle/field duality is seen to be a property of free field theory and not of interacting QFT. Second, it is demonstrated how LSZ side-steps the implicationsof Haag's theorem. Finally, a recent argument due to Redhead (1995), Malament (1996) and Arageorgis (1995) against the concept of localized particle states is addressed. (...) Briefly, the argument observes thatthe Reeh–Schlieder theorem entails that correlations between spacelike separatedvacuum expectation values of local field operators are always present,and this, according to the above authors, dictates against the notion of a localizedparticle state. I claim that this moral is excessive and that a coherentnotion of localized particles is given by the LSZ approach. The underlyingmoral to be drawn from this analysis is that questions concerning theontology of interacting QFT cannot be appropriately addressed if one restrictsoneself to the free theory. (shrink)
Ervin Laszlo has used the ancient concept of the Akashic Records for the basis of his "Akashic Field" (A-field) model, one that has obvious implications for parapsychology, the scientific study of anomalous human-human and human-environment interactions, that is, "psi." Experiments with "telepathic" and "precognitive" dreams are one example of parapsychological research that may fit the A-field model because of its information-carrying potential. Psi appears to be a complex system, one that may reflect the connective "web" posited by (...) the A-field model. In other words, the "universal knowledge" implicit in the old descriptions of the Akashic Records may have a modern-day counterpart. (shrink)
Huggett and Weingard's critical review provides an opportunity to continue the interpretive examination of quantum field theory in terms of some specific issues as well as comparison of alternative approaches to the subject. This note recasts their example of inequivalent Fock spaces in an effort to further clarify what it illustrates. Questions are addressed about the role of analogy in developing quantum field theory and about the conflict between formal vs. concrete methods in both physics and its interpretation, (...) continuing the well-known historical debate between Pierre Duhem and Clark Maxwell. Huggett and Weingard's examination very usefully occasions clarification on some points of exposition which, it is hoped, will make An Interpretive Introduction to Quantum Field Theory a more useful resource for understanding this subject. (shrink)