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  1. Scientific Realism Made Effective.Porter Williams - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):209-237.
    I argue that a common philosophical approach to the interpretation of physical theories—particularly quantum field theories—has led philosophers astray. It has driven many to declare the quantum field theories employed by practicing physicists, so-called ‘effective field theories’, to be unfit for philosophical interpretation. In particular, such theories have been deemed unable to support a realist interpretation. I argue that these claims are mistaken: attending to the manner in which these theories are employed in physical practice, I show that interpreting effective (...)
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  • The dissipative approach to quantum field theory: conceptual foundations and ontological implications.Andrea Oldofredi & Hans Christian Öttinger - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-36.
    Many attempts have been made to provide Quantum Field Theory with conceptually clear and mathematically rigorous foundations; remarkable examples are the Bohmian and the algebraic perspectives respectively. In this essay we introduce the dissipative approach to QFT, a new alternative formulation of the theory explaining the phenomena of particle creation and annihilation starting from nonequilibrium thermodynamics. It is shown that DQFT presents a rigorous mathematical structure, and a clear particle ontology, taking the best from the mentioned perspectives. Finally, after the (...)
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  • No-Go Theorems and the Foundations of Quantum Physics.Andrea Oldofredi - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):355-370.
    In the history of quantum physics several no-go theorems have been proved, and many of them have played a central role in the development of the theory, such as Bell’s or the Kochen–Specker theorem. A recent paper by F. Laudisa has raised reasonable doubts concerning the strategy followed in proving some of these results, since they rely on the standard framework of quantum mechanics, a theory that presents several ontological problems. The aim of this paper is twofold: on the one (...)
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  • Why Interpret Quantum Physics?Edward MacKinnon - 2016 - Open Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):86-102.
    This article probes the question of what interpretations of quantum mechanics actually accomplish. In other domains, which are briefly considered, interpretations serve to make alien systematizations intelligible to us. This often involves clarifying the status of their implicit ontology. A survey of interpretations of non-relativistic quantum mechanics supports the evaluation that these interpretations make a contribution to philosophy, but not to physics. Interpretations of quantum field theory are polarized by the divergence between the Lagrangian field theory that led to the (...)
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  • The role of a posteriori mathematics in physics.Edward MacKinnon - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 62:166-175.
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  • Schwinger and the ontology of quantum field theory.Edward MacKinnon - 2007 - Foundations of Science 12 (4):295-323.
    An epistemological interpretation of quantum mechanics hinges on the claim that the distinctive features of quantum mechanics can be derived from some distinctive features of an observational basis. Old and new variations of this theme are listed. The program has a limited success in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. The crucial issue is how far it can be extended to quantum field theory without introducing significant ontological postulates. A C*-formulation covers algebraic quantum field theory, but not the standard model. Julian Schwinger’s anabatic (...)
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  • Why conceptual rigour matters to philosophy: On the ontological significance of algebraic quantum field theory. [REVIEW]Meinard Kuhlmann - 2010 - Foundations of Physics 40 (9-10):1625-1637.
    I argue that algebraic quantum field theory (AQFT) permits an undisturbed view of the right ontology for fundamental physics, whereas standard (or Lagrangian) QFT offers different mutually incompatible ontologies.My claim does not depend on the mathematical inconsistency of standard QFT but on the fact that AQFT has the same concerns as ontology, namely categorical parsimony and a clearly structured hierarchy of entities.
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  • Quantum field theory: Underdetermination, inconsistency, and idealization.Doreen Fraser - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (4):536-567.
    Quantum field theory (QFT) presents a genuine example of the underdetermination of theory by empirical evidence. There are variants of QFT—for example, the standard textbook formulation and the rigorous axiomatic formulation—that are empirically indistinguishable yet support different interpretations. This case is of particular interest to philosophers of physics because, before the philosophical work of interpreting QFT can proceed, the question of which variant should be subject to interpretation must be settled. New arguments are offered for basing the interpretation of QFT (...)
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  • Particles, Cutoffs and Inequivalent Representations: Fraser and Wallace on Quantum Field Theory.Matthias Egg, Vincent Lam & Andrea Oldofredi - 2017 - Foundations of Physics 47 (3):453-466.
    We critically review the recent debate between Doreen Fraser and David Wallace on the interpretation of quantum field theory, with the aim of identifying where the core of the disagreement lies. We show that, despite appearances, their conflict does not concern the existence of particles or the occurrence of unitarily inequivalent representations. Instead, the dispute ultimately turns on the very definition of what a quantum field theory is. We further illustrate the fundamental differences between the two approaches by comparing them (...)
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  • The Role of Quantum Jumps in Quantum Ontology.Rainer Dick - 2023 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 54 (4):567-597.
    Quantum theory determines the evolution of quantum states between quantum jumps. Quantum theory also allows us to calculate rates of quantum jumps and, on a probabilistic level, the outcomes of those quantum jumps. Both quantum jumps and the continuous evolution of quantum states are important in the time evolution of quantum systems, and the scattering matrix ties those seemingly disparate concepts together. Indeed, quantum jumps are so essential in quantum dynamics that we should refocus discussion of a quantum ontology on (...)
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  • How properties hold together in Substances.Joseph E. Earley - 2016 - In Eric Scerri & Grant Fisher (eds.), Essays in Philosophy of Chemistry. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 199-216.
    This article aims to clarify how aspects of current chemical understanding relate to some important contemporary problems of philosophy. The first section points out that the long-running philosophical debates concerning how properties stay together in substances have neglected the important topic of structure-determining closure. The second part describes several chemically-important types of closure and the third part shows how such closures ground the properties of chemical substances. The fourth section introduces current discussions of structural realism (SR) and contextual emergence: the (...)
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  • Inequivalent Representations Do Not Undermine Realism about Particles.Matthias Egg - unknown