Unitary inequivalence as a problem for structural realism


Authors
Steven French
University of Leeds
Abstract
Howard argues that the existence of unitarily inequivalent representations in Quantum Field Theory presents a problem for structural realism in this context. I consider two potential ways round this problem: 1), follow Wallace in adopting the 'naive' Lagrangian form of QFT with cut-offs; 2), adapt Ruetsche's 'Swiss Army Knife' approach. The first takes us into the current debate between Wallace and Fraser on conventional vs. algebraic QFT. The second involves consideration of the role of inequivalent representations in understanding spontaneous symmetry breaking and quantum statistics. In both cases, I suggest, the structural realist has sufficient room to manoeuvre
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2011.09.001
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References found in this work BETA

What is Structural Realism?James Ladyman - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):409-424.
The Fate of 'Particles' in Quantum Field Theories with Interactions.Doreen Fraser - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (4):841-859.
Against Field Interpretations of Quantum Field Theory.David Baker - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):585-609.

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Citations of this work BETA

Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination.Kerry McKenzie - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx061.
Entities Without Intrinsic Physical Identity.Vincent Lam - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (5):1157-1171.
From Ontic Structural Realism to Metaphysical Coherentism.Matteo Morganti - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):1-20.
The Entanglement Structure of Quantum Field Systems.Vincent Lam - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):59 - 72.

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