The History and Philosophy of Quantum Field Theory

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:61 - 68 (1994)
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Abstract

This paper is intended to be an introductory survey of subjects related to the problems dealt with in the three other papers in this symposium on quantum field theory. A brief history of quantum electrodynamics is given and some of the objections to it are stated. A brief history of quantum field theories from the 1970's to the present is then provided. Finally, a sketch of some of the philosophical work that has been done on quantum field theories is presented. The object of the paper is to explain why philosophers of physics have tended to neglect quantum field theories and to point out several of the conceptual issues raised by quantum field theories that call out for further analysis.

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