On Particle Phenomenology Without Particle Ontology: How Much Local Is Almost Local?

Foundations of Physics 43 (8):969-977 (2013)
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Abstract

Recently, Clifton and Halvorson have tried to salvage a particle phenomenology in the absence of particle ontology within algebraic relativistic quantum field theory. Their idea is that the detection of a particle is the measurement of a local observable which simulates the measurement of an almost local observable that annihilates the vacuum. In this note, we argue that the measurements local particle detections are supposed to simulate probe radically holistic aspects of relativistic quantum fields. We prove that in an axiomatic (Haag-Araki) quantum field theory on Minkowski spacetime, formulated in a Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$ , there is no positive observable C, with norm less than or equal to 1, satisfying the conditions: (1) the expectation value of C in the vacuum state Ω is zero, (2) there is at least one vector state Ψ in $\mathcal{H}$ in which the expectation value of C is different from zero, and (3) there exists at least one spacetime region $\mathcal{O}$ such that the non-selective measurement of C leaves the expectation values of all observables in the local algebra of that region unaltered regardless of the state the system is in. The result reveals a tension between intuitions regarding localization and intuitions regarding causality: to save “particle phenomena” in the absence of particle ontology, one has to feign “particle” detectors with “good” properties as to locality but “bad” behavior as to causality

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Chrysovalantis Stergiou
The American College of Greece: Deree

Citations of this work

Restoring particle phenomenology.Giovanni Valente - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 51:97-103.
Particle physics after the Higgs discovery: Philosophical perspectives.Simon Friederich & Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 51:69-70.
Causal Processes in C*-Algebraic Setting.Chrysovalantis Stergiou - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (1):1-23.

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References found in this work

How local are local operations in local quantum field theory?Miklós Rédei & Giovanni Valente - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (4):346-353.

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