Philosophy of QFT -- David John Baker

Discussions on the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences.

Philosophy of QFT -- David John Baker

Postby hyksos on August 28th, 2017, 6:56 am 

The Philosophy of Quantum Field Theory
David John Baker

If we divide our physical theories (somewhat artificially) into theories of matter and
theories of spacetime, quantum field theory (QFT) is our most fundamental empirically successful theory of matter. As such, it has attracted increasing attention from philosophers over the past two decades, beginning to eclipse its predecessor theory of quantum mechanics (QM) in the philosophical literature. Here I survey some central philosophical puzzles about the theory’s foundations.



http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/11375/
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Re: Philosophy of QFT -- David John Baker

Postby mitchellmckain on August 28th, 2017, 5:49 pm 

The difficulties described in the paper not only confront the philosopher but also the physics student who is trying it get a handle on it. And it is indeed a serious difficulty. The result for me was that I became a collector of QFT textbooks in my own effort to find purchase in the subject. General Relativity is not nearly so bad, so when I raise GR and QFT as examples of how correct physics is anything but simple, QFT is by far the better example of the two.
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Re: Philosophy of QFT -- David John Baker

Postby hyksos on August 29th, 2017, 4:05 am 

The PDF is not light reading. I will try to posts little reading notes, whenever a lightbulb turns on above my head.

Something which I learned so far, which is scandalous :
In QFT, "field quanta" are not the same thing as a "particle".
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Re: Philosophy of QFT -- David John Baker

Postby hyksos on September 10th, 2017, 7:25 am 

(Hmm.. this thread is not getting much attention but I will continue to post reading notes)

The PDF has just taught me about something called the Hadamard Condition.

Mathematical models of physical phenomena should have the properties that:

1. a solution exists,
2. the solution is unique,
3. the solution's behavior changes continuously with the initial conditions.

taken from, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well-posed_problem
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