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  1. Nihilism, But Not Necessarily.Naomi Dershowitz - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (5):2441-2456.
    It’s widely accepted that we have most reason to accept theories that best fulfill the following naturalistically respectable criteria: internal consistency, consistency with the facts, and exemplification of the theoretical virtues. It’s also widely accepted that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. I argue that if you accept the aforementioned criteria, you have most reason to reject that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. By applying the criteria to worlds that are all prima facie possible, I show that contingent local matters of (...)
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  • Can We “Effectivize” Spacetime?Lu Chen - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 95:75-83.
  • Nihilism, But Not Necessarily.Naomi Dershowitz - 2020 - Erkenntnis:1-16.
    It’s widely accepted that we have most reason to accept theories that best fulfill the following naturalistically respectable criteria: internal consistency, consistency with the facts, and exemplification of the theoretical virtues. It’s also widely accepted that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. I argue that if you accept the aforementioned criteria, you have most reason to reject that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. By applying the criteria to worlds that are all prima facie possible, I show that contingent local matters of (...)
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  • Fundamentality.Steven French - 2021 - In Eleanor Knox, Alastair Wilson & Margaret Moore (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. London: Routledge. pp. 679-688.
    The idea that there is some fundamental “level” or “ground” where our description of the world bottoms out has acquired the status of ‘the received view’ in metaphysics ; for a more recent critical defense, see Cameron, 2008). Typically this view is cashed out in terms of some set of ‘basic building blocks’ populating this level, which sits at the bottom of a hierarchy ordered according to some set of compositional principles. These fundamental building blocks are thus taken to have (...)
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  • Renormalization Group Methods: Which Kind of Explanation?Elena Castellani & Emilia Margoni - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 95:158-166.
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  • Bottoms Up: The Standard Model Effective Field Theory From a Model Perspective.Philip Bechtle, Cristin Chall, Martin King, Michael Krämer, Peter Mättig & Michael Stöltzner - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 92:129-143.
    Experiments in particle physics have hitherto failed to produce any significant evidence for the many explicit models of physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM) that had been proposed over the past decades. As a result, physicists have increasingly turned to model-independent strategies as tools in searching for a wide range of possible BSM effects. In this paper, we describe the Standard Model Effective Field Theory (SM-EFT) and analyse it in the context of the philosophical discussions about models, theories, and (bottom-up) (...)
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  • Is There a Fundamental Level?Jonathan Schaffer - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):498–517.
    ‘‘Thus I believe that there is no part of matter which is not—I do not say divisible—but actually divided; and consequently the least particle ought to be considered as a world full of an infinity of different creatures.’’ (Leibniz, letter to Foucher).
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  • 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.
    The recent discovery of the Higgs at 125 GeV by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the LHC has put significant pressure on a principle which has guided much theorizing in high energy physics over the last 40 years, the principle of naturalness. In this paper, I provide an explication of the conceptual foundations and physical significance of the naturalness principle. I argue that the naturalness principle is well-grounded both empirically and in the theoretical structure of effective field theories, and (...)
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  • « La Signification Fondamentale des Méthodes D’Approximation En Physique Théorique » : Vladimir Fock Épistémologue« The Fundamental Significance of Approximate Methods in Theoretical Physics » : Vladimir Fock as an Epistemologist.Jean-Philippe Martinez - 2020 - Philosophia Scientae 24:171-190.
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  • Ontology, Matter and Emergence.Michel Bitbol - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (3):293-307.
    “Ontological emergence” of inherent high-level properties with causal powers is witnessed nowhere. A non-substantialist conception of emergence works much better. It allows downward causation, provided our concept of causality is transformed accordingly.
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  • Exposing the Machinery of Infinite Renormalization.Nick Huggett & Robert Weingard - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (5):S159-S167.
    We explicate recent results that shed light on the obscure and troubling problem of renormalization in Quantum Field Theory. We review how divergent predictions arise in perturbative QFT, and how they are renormalized into finite quantities. Commentators have worried that there is no foundation for renormalization, and hence that QFTs are not logically coherent. We dispute this by describing the physics behind liquid diffusion, in which exactly analogous divergences are found and renormalized. But now we are looking at a problem (...)
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  • Critical Review: Paul Teller's Interpretive Introduction to Quantum Field Theory.Nick Huggett & Robert Weingard - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (2):302.
    Paul Teller's new book, “An Interpretive Introduction to Quantum Field Theory”, is a pioneering work. To the best of our knowledge it is the first book by a philosopher devoted not only to explaining what quantum field theory is, but to clarifying the conceptual issues and puzzles to which the theory gives rise. As such it is an important book, which we hope will greatly stimulate work in the area as other philosophers and physicists react to it.
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  • Effective theories and infinite idealizations: a challenge for scientific realism.Sébastien Rivat - 2021 - Synthese 198 (12):12107-12136.
    Williams and J. Fraser have recently argued that effective field theory methods enable scientific realists to make more reliable ontological commitments in quantum field theory than those commonly made. In this paper, I show that the interpretative relevance of these methods extends beyond the specific context of QFT by identifying common structural features shared by effective theories across physics. In particular, I argue that effective theories are best characterized by the fact that they contain intrinsic empirical limitations, and I extract (...)
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  • Moving, Moved and Will Be Moving: Zeno and Nāgārjuna on Motion From Mahāmudrā, Koan and Mathematical Physics Perspectives.Robert Alan Paul - 2017 - Comparative Philosophy 8 (2):65-89.
    Zeno’s Arrow and Nāgārjuna’s Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way Chapter 2 contain paradoxical, dialectic arguments thought to indicate that there is no valid explanation of motion, hence there is no physical or generic motion. There are, however, diverse interpretations of the latter text, and I argue they apply to Zeno’s Arrow as well. I also find that many of the interpretations are dependent on a mathematical analysis of material motion through space and time. However, with modern philosophy and physics (...)
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  • The Modular Structure of Physical Theories.Olivier Darrigol - 2008 - Synthese 162 (2):195 - 223.
    Any advanced theory of physics contains modules defined as essential components that are themselves theories with different domains of application. Different kinds of modules can be distinguished according to the way in which they fit in the symbolic and interpretive apparatus of a theory. The number and kind of the modules of a given theory vary as the theory evolves in time. The relative stability of modules and the variability of their insertion in other theories play a vital role in (...)
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  • Their is No They’Re: Wittgenstein on Pluralistic Democracy.Margaret Mary Riley - 2018 - Thesis Eleven 148 (1):39-51.
    How does mutual intelligibility impact the political sphere? This paper uses Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations as a means of examining this connection. I argue that Wittgenstein’s paradigm of a dialectical world suggests that his analysis of mutual intelligibility in understanding experiences is necessary in a pluralistic democracy. I conclude that via his theory of social reality politics is a dynamic dialectical process of communicating experiences.
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  • Trajectories in the History and Historiography of Physics in the Twentieth Century.Richard Staley - 2013 - History of Science 51 (2):151-177.
  • Idealization in Quantum Field Theory.Stephan Hartmann - 1998 - In Niall Shanks (ed.), Idealization in Contemporary Physics. pp. 99-122.
    This paper explores various functions of idealizations in quantum field theory. To this end it is important to first distinguish between different kinds of theories and models of or inspired by quantum field theory. Idealizations have pragmatic and cognitive functions. Analyzing a case-study from hadron physics, I demonstrate the virtues of studying highly idealized models for exploring the features of theories with an extremely rich structure such as quantum field theory and for gaining some understanding of the physical processes in (...)
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  • Reductionism, Emergence, and Effective Field Theories.Elena Castellani - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 33 (2):251-267.
    In recent years, a ''change in attitude'' in particle physics has led to our understanding current quantum field theories as effective field theories (EFTs). The present paper is concerned with the significance of this EFT approach, especially from the viewpoint of the debate on reductionism in science. In particular, I shall show how EFTs provide a new and interesting case study in current philosophical discussion on reduction, emergence, and inter-level relationships in general.
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  • Appearing Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Sydney
    Quantum gravity is understood as a theory that, in some sense, unifies general relativity (GR) and quantum theory, and is supposed to replace GR at extremely small distances (high-energies). It may be that quantum gravity represents the breakdown of spacetime geometry described by GR. The relationship between quantum gravity and spacetime has been deemed ``emergence'', and the aim of this thesis is to investigate and explicate this relation. After finding traditional philosophical accounts of emergence to be inappropriate, I develop a (...)
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  • Decoupling Emergence and Reduction in Physics.Karen Crowther - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (3):419-445.
    An effective theory in physics is one that is supposed to apply only at a given length scale; the framework of effective field theory describes a ‘tower’ of theories each applying at different length scales, where each ‘level’ up is a shorter-scale theory. Owing to subtlety regarding the use and necessity of EFTs, a conception of emergence defined in terms of reduction is irrelevant. I present a case for decoupling emergence and reduction in the philosophy of physics. This paper develops (...)
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  • Inter-Theory Relations in Quantum Gravity: Correspondence, Reduction and Emergence.Karen Crowther - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 63:74-85.
    Relationships between current theories, and relationships between current theories and the sought theory of quantum gravity (QG), play an essential role in motivating the need for QG, aiding the search for QG, and defining what would count as QG. Correspondence is the broad class of inter-theory relationships intended to demonstrate the necessary compatibility of two theories whose domains of validity overlap, in the overlap regions. The variety of roles that correspondence plays in the search for QG are illustrated, using examples (...)
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  • Conceptual Problems in Quantum Electrodynamics: A Contemporary Historical-Philosophical Approach.Mario Bacelar Valente - unknown
    PhD dissertation addressing what can be called conceptual-mathematical anomalies in quantum electrodynamics. This work can be seen as following the line of philosophy of physics studies of quantum field theory that started to emerge in a systematic way in the early eighties of last century. One example is Teller’s work on standard quantum electrodynamics.In this work, by following a historical approach, I will return to the standard version of quantum electrodynamics, which is the only one available when we want to (...)
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  • Is More Different? Emergent Properties in Physics.Paul Mainwood - unknown
    This thesis gives a philosophical assessment of a contemporary movement, influential amongst physicists, about the status of microscopic and macroscopic properties. The fountainhead for the movement was a short 1972 paper `More is Different', written by the condensed-matter physicist, Philip Anderson. Each of the chapters is concerned with themes mentioned in that paper, or subsequently expounded by Anderson and his followers. In Chapter 1, I aim to locate Anderson's existence claims for `emergent properties' within the metaphysical, epistemological and methodological doctrines (...)
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  • Drawing Scales Apart: The Origins of Wilson's Conception of Effective Field Theories.Sébastien Rivat - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90:321-338.
  • Defining a Crisis: The Roles of Principles in the Search for a Theory of Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (Suppl 14):3489-3516.
    In times of crisis, when current theories are revealed as inadequate to task, and new physics is thought to be required—physics turns to re-evaluate its principles, and to seek new ones. This paper explores the various types, and roles of principles that feature in the problem of quantum gravity as a current crisis in physics. I illustrate the diversity of the principles being appealed to, and show that principles serve in a variety of roles in all stages of the crisis, (...)
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  • The Construction of the Higgs Mechanism and the Emergence of the Electroweak Theory.Koray Karaca - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (1):1-16.
    I examine the construction process of the “Higgs mechanism” and its subsequent use by Steven Weinberg to formulate the electroweak theory of elementary particle physics. I characterize the development of the Higgs mechanism as a historical process that was guided through analogies drawn to the theories of solid-state physics and that was progressive through diverse contributions in the sixties from a number of physicists working independently. I also offer a detailed comparative study of the similarities and the differences that exist (...)
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  • Normative Naturalism and the Relativised a Priori.Dan McArthur - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (2):331 - 350.
    In this paper I address some shortcomings in Larry Laudan's normative naturalism. I make it clear that Laudan's rejection of the "meta-methodology thesis", or MMT is unnecessary, and that a reformulated version MMT can be sustained. I contend that a major difficulty that attends Laudan's account is his contention that a naturalistic philosophy of science cannot accommodate any a priori justification of methodological rules, and consider what sort of naturalism might best replace Laudan's. To do this, I discuss Michael Friedman's (...)
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  • Realism Despite Cognitive Antireductionism.Fritz Rohrlich - 2004 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):73 – 88.
    Building on previous work, I continue the arguments for scientific realism in the presence of a natural level structure of science. That structure results from a cognitive antireductionism that calls for the retention of mature theories even though they have been "superseded". The level structure is based on "scientific truth" characterized by a theory's validity domain and the confirming empirical data. Reductionism (including fundamentalism) fails cognitively because of qualitative differences in the ontology and semantics of successive theories. This cognitive failure (...)
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  • Simplified Models: A Different Perspective on Models as Mediators.C. D. McCoy & Michela Massimi - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (1):99-123.
    We introduce a novel point of view on the “models as mediators” framework in order to emphasize certain important epistemological questions about models in science which have so far been little investigated. To illustrate how this perspective can help answer these kinds of questions, we explore the use of simplified models in high energy physics research beyond the Standard Model. We show in detail how the construction of simplified models is grounded in the need to mitigate pressing epistemic problems concerning (...)
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  • Critical Notice: Tian Yu Cao's “the Conceptual Development of 20th Century Field Theories”. [REVIEW]Simon Saunders - 2003 - Synthese 136 (1):79-105.
    Tian Yu Cao has written a serious and scholarly book covering a great deal of physics. He ranges from classical relativity theory, both special and general, to relativistic quantum …eld theory, including non-Abelian gauge theory, renormalization theory, and symmetry-breaking, presenting a detailed and very rich picture of the mainstream developments in quantum physics; a remarkable feat. It has, moreover, a philosophical message: according to Cao, the development of these theories is inconsistent with a Kuhnian view of theory change, and supports (...)
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  • The Renormalisation Group and Effective Field Theories.Nick Huggett & Robert Weingard - 1995 - Synthese 102 (1):171 - 194.
    Much apprehension has been expressed by philosophers about the method of renormalisation in quantum field theory, as it apparently requires illegitimate procedure of infinite cancellation. This has lead to various speculations, in particular in Teller (1989). We examine Teller's discussion of perturbative renormalisation of quantum fields, and show why it is inadequate. To really approach the matter one needs to understand the ideas and results of the renormalisation group, so we give a simple but comprehensive account of this topic. With (...)
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  • Models and Stories in Hadron Physics.Stephan Hartmann - 1999 - In Margaret Morrison & Mary Morgan (eds.), Models as Mediators: Perspectives on Natural and Social Science. pp. 52--326.
    Fundamental theories are hard to come by. But even if we had them, they would be too complicated to apply. Quantum chromodynamics is a case in point. This theory is supposed to govern all strong interactions, but it is extremely hard to apply and test at energies where protons, neutrons and ions are the effective degrees of freedom. Instead, scientists typically use highly idealized models such as the MIT Bag Model or the Nambu Jona-Lasinio Model to account for phenomena in (...)
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  • Renormalizability, Fundamentality and a Final Theory: The Role of UV-Completion in the Search for Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther & Niels Linnemann - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx052.
    Principles are central to physical reasoning, particularly in the search for a theory of quantum gravity (QG), where novel empirical data is lacking. One principle widely adopted in the search for QG is UV completion: the idea that a theory should (formally) hold up to all possible high energies. We argue---/contra/ standard scientific practice---that UV-completion is poorly-motivated as a guiding principle in theory-construction, and cannot be used as a criterion of theory-justification in the search for QG. For this, we explore (...)
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  • Renormalizability, Fundamentality, and a Final Theory: The Role of UV-Completion in the Search for Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther & Niels Linnemann - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):377-406.
    Principles are central to physical reasoning, particularly in the search for a theory of quantum gravity, where novel empirical data are lacking. One principle widely adopted in the search for QG is ultraviolet completion: the idea that a theory should hold up to all possible high energies. We argue— contra standard scientific practice—that UV-completion is poorly motivated as a guiding principle in theory-construction, and cannot be used as a criterion of theory-justification in the search for QG. For this, we explore (...)
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  • Effective Field Theories, Reductionism and Scientific Explanation.Stephan Hartmann - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (2):267-304.
    Effective field theories have been a very popular tool in quantum physics for almost two decades. And there are good reasons for this. I will argue that effective field theories share many of the advantages of both fundamental theories and phenomenological models, while avoiding their respective shortcomings. They are, for example, flexible enough to cover a wide range of phenomena, and concrete enough to provide a detailed story of the specific mechanisms at work at a given energy scale. So will (...)
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  • Czy fizyczne teorie efektywne są wiarygodną strategią osiągnięcia teorii finalnej?Marek Szydłowski & Paweł Tambor - 2020 - Philosophical Problems in Science 68:79-116.
    The paper presents the methodology of effective theories as a strategy used in the process of development of modern physics to reach a final theory. We present the definition and characteristic features of an effective theory, as well as the answer to the question of whether and what kind of scenario of reaching a final theory is realized by contemporary physics. We argue that the process of development of physics in the direction of a final theory is potentially final, i.e. (...)
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  • Critical Notice: "The Conceptual Development of 20th Century Field Theories", by Tian Yu Cao.Simon Saunders - unknown
    Cao makes two claims of particular philosophical interest, in his book "The Conceptual Development of 20th Century Field Theories". (i) The history of these developments refutes Kuhn's relativistic epistemology, and (tacitly) (2) the question of realism in quantum field theory can be addressed independent of one's views on the probem of measurement. I argue that Cao is right on the first score, although for reasons different from the ones he cites, but wrong on the second. In support of the first (...)
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  • Contra Cartwright: Structural Realism, Ontological Pluralism and Fundamentalism About Laws.Dan Mcarthur - 2006 - Synthese 151 (2):233-255.
    In this paper I argue against Nancy Cartwright's claim that we ought to abandon what she calls "fundamentalism" about the laws of nature and adopt instead her "dappled world" hypothesis. According to Cartwright we ought to abandon the notion that fundamental laws apply universally, instead we should consider the law-like statements of science to apply in highly qualified ways within narrow, non-overlapping and ontologically diverse domains, including the laws of fundamental physics. For Cartwright, "laws" are just locally applicable refinements of (...)
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  • Arguing Against Fundamentality.Kerry McKenzie - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4):244-255.
    This paper aims to open up discussion on the relationship between fundamentality and naturalism, and in particular on the question of whether fundamentality may be denied on naturalistic grounds. A historico-inductive argument for an anti-fundamentalist conclusion, prominent within contemporary metaphysical literature, is examined; finding it wanting, an alternative ‘internal’ strategy is proposed. By means of an example from the history of modern physics - namely S-matrix theory - it is demonstrated that this strategy can generate similar anti-fundamentalist conclusions on more (...)
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  • Reductionism, Emergence, and Effective Field Theories.Elena Castellani - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 33 (2):251-267.
    In recent years, a change in attitude in particle physics has led to our understanding current quantum field theories as effective field theories. The present paper is concerned with the significance of this EFT approach, especially from the viewpoint of the debate on reductionism in science. In particular, it is a purpose of this paper to clarify how EFTs may provide an interesting case-study in current philosophical discussion on reduction, emergence and inter-level relationships in general.
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  • The Origins of Schwinger׳s Euclidean Green׳s Functions.Michael E. Miller - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 50:5-12.
    This paper places Julian Schwinger's development of the Euclidean Green's function formalism for quantum field theory in historical context. It traces the techniques employed in the formalism back to Schwinger's work on waveguides during World War II, and his subsequent formulation of the Minkowski space Green's function formalism for quantum field theory in 1951. Particular attention is dedicated to understanding Schwinger's physical motivation for pursuing the Euclidean extension of this formalism in 1958.
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  • Normative Naturalism and the Relativised A Priori.Dan McArthur - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (2):331-350.
    In this paper I address some shortcomings in Larry Laudan's normative naturalism. I make it clear that Laudan's rejection of the "meta-methodology thesis", or MMT is unnecessary, and that a reformulated version MMT can be sustained. I contend that a major difficulty that attends Laudan's account is his contention that a naturalistic philosophy of science cannot accommodate any a priori justification of methodological rules, and consider what sort of naturalism might best replace Laudan's. To do this, I discuss Michael Friedman's (...)
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  • Prerequisites for a Consistent Framework of Quantum Gravity.Tian Yu Cao - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (2):181-204.
  • Particle Physics After the Higgs Discovery: Philosophical Perspectives.Simon Friederich & Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 51:69-70.
  • The Case of the Composite Higgs: The Model as a “Rosetta Stone” in Contemporary High-Energy Physics.Arianna Borrelli - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (3):195-214.
    This paper analyses the practice of model-building “beyond the Standard Model” in contemporary high-energy physics and argues that its epistemic function can be grasped by regarding models as mediating between the phenomenology of the Standard Model and a number of “theoretical cores” of hybrid character, in which mathematical structures are combined with verbal narratives and analogies referring back to empirical results in other fields . Borrowing a metaphor from a physics research paper, model-building is likened to the search for a (...)
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  • Relativities of Fundamentality.Kerry McKenzie - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59:89-99.
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  • Emergent Spacetime According to Effective Field Theory: From Top-Down and Bottom-Up.Karen Crowther - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):321-328.
    The framework of effective field theory is a natural one in which to understand the claim that the spacetime of general relativity is an emergent low-energy phenomenon. I argue for a pragmatic understanding of EFT, given that the appropriate conception of emergence it suggests is necessarily epistemological in a sense. Analogue models of spacetime are examples of the top-down approach to EFT. They offer concrete illustrations of spacetime emergent within an EFT, and lure us toward a strong analogy between condensed (...)
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  • QED and the Man Who Didn׳T Make It: Sidney Dancoff and the Infrared Divergence.Alexander S. Blum - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 50:70-94.
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  • From Dressed Electrons to Quasiparticles: The Emergence of Emergent Entities in Quantum Field Theory.Alexander S. Blum & Christian Joas - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 53:1-8.