Journal Article

Against Field Interpretations of Quantum Field Theory

David John Baker

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 60, issue 3, pages 585-609
Published in print September 2009 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axp027
Against Field Interpretations of Quantum Field Theory

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I examine some problems standing in the way of a successful `field interpretation' of quantum field theory. The most popular extant proposal depends on the Hilbert space of `wavefunctionals.' But since wavefunctional space is unitarily equivalent to many-particle Fock space, two of the most powerful arguments against particle interpretations also undermine this form of field interpretation.

Introduction

Field Interpretations and Field Operators

The Wavefunctional Interpretation

Fields and Inequivalent Representations 4.1

The Rindler representation

4.2

Spontaneous symmetry breaking

4.3

Coherent representations

The Fate of Fields in Interacting QFT

Conclusions

Journal Article.  10119 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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