Two Notions of Naturalness

Foundations of Physics:1-29 (forthcoming)
Authors
Porter Williams
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
My aim in this paper is twofold: to distinguish two notions of naturalness employed in Beyond the Standard Model physics and to argue that recognizing this distinction has methodological consequences. One notion of naturalness is an ``autonomy of scales'' requirement: it prohibits sensitive dependence of an effective field theory's low-energy observables on precise specification of the theory's description of cutoff-scale physics. I will argue that considerations from the general structure of effective field theory provide justification for the role this notion of naturalness has played in BSM model construction. A second, distinct notion construes naturalness as a statistical principle requiring that the values of the parameters in an effective field theory be ``likely'' given some appropriately chosen measure on some appropriately circumscribed space of models. I argue that these two notions are historically and conceptually related but are motivated by distinct theoretical considerations and admit of distinct kinds of solution.
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DOI 10.1007/s10701-018-0229-1
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References found in this work BETA

Naturalness, the Autonomy of Scales, and the 125GeV Higgs.Porter Williams - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 51:82-96.
QED and the Men Who Made It: Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga.Silvan S. Schweber - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (4):624-627.
Which Fine-Tuning Arguments Are Fine?Alexei Grinbaum - 2012 - Foundations of Physics 42 (5):615-631.
The Utility of Naturalness, and How its Application to Quantum Electrodynamics Envisages the Standard Model and Higgs Boson.James D. Wells - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 49:102-108.

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