Against particle/field duality: Asymptotic particle states and interpolating fields in interacting qft (or: Who's afraid of Haag's theorem?) [Book Review]

Erkenntnis 53 (3):375-406 (2000)
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Abstract

This essay touches on a number of topics in philosophy of quantum field theory from the point of view of the LSZ asymptotic approach to scattering theory. First, particle/field duality is seen to be a property of free field theory and not of interacting QFT. Second, it is demonstrated how LSZ side-steps the implications of Haag's theorem. Finally, a recent argument due to Redhead, Malament and Arageorgis against the concept of localized particle states is addressed. Briefly, the argument observes that the Reeh-Schlieder theorem entails that correlations between spacelike separated vacuum expectation values of local field operators are always present, and this, according to the above authors, dictates against the notion of a localized particle state. I claim that this moral is excessive and that a coherent notion of localized particles is given by the LSZ approach. The underlying moral to be drawn from this analysis is that questions concerning the ontology of interacting QFT cannot be appropriately addressed if one restricts oneself to the free theory.

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Jonathan Bain
New York University

Citations of this work

The fate of 'particles' in quantum field theories with interactions.Doreen Fraser - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (4):841-859.
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Quantum reality: A pragmaticized neo-Kantian approach.Florian J. Boge - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 87 (C):101-113.

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References found in this work

Underdetermination, Realism, and Reason.John Earman - 1993 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):19-38.
An Interpretative Introduction to Quantum Field Theory.Paul Teller - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):152-153.

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