Authors
Letitia Meynell
Dalhousie University
Abstract
There are two distinct interpretations of the role that Feynman diagrams play in physics: (i) they are calculational devices, a type of notation designed to keep track of complicated mathematical expressions; and (ii) they are representational devices, a type of picture. I argue that Feynman diagrams not only have a calculational function but also represent: they are in some sense pictures. I defend my view through addressing two objections and in so doing I offer an account of representation that explains why Feynman diagrams represent. The account that I advocate is a version of that defended by Kendall Walton, which provides us with a basic characterization of the way that representations in general work and is particularly useful for understanding distinctively pictorial representations - in Walton's terms, depictions. The question of the epistemic function of Feynman diagrams as pictorial representations is left for another time.
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DOI 10.1080/02698590802280902
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
The Republic. Plato & Benjamin Jowett - 1894 - Courier Dover Publications.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Real Problem with Perturbative Quantum Field Theory.James D. Fraser - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):391-413.
How Do Feynman Diagrams Work?James Robert Brown - 2018 - Perspectives on Science 26 (4):423-442.

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