Foundations of Physics 52 (1):1-32 (2021)

Authors
Joshua Rosaler
Oxford University
Abstract
The earliest formulation of the Higgs naturalness argument has been criticized on the grounds that it relies on a particular cutoff-based regularization scheme. One response to this criticism has been to circumvent the worry by reformulating the naturalness argument in terms of a renormalized, regulator-independent parametrization. An alternative response is to deny that regulator dependence poses a problem for the naturalness argument, because nature itself furnishes a particular, physically correct regulator for any effective field theory in the form of that EFT’s physical cutoff, together with an associated set of bare parameters that constitute the unique physically preferred “fundamental parameters” of the EFT. Here, I argue that both lines of defense against the initial worry about regulator dependence are flawed. I argue that reformulation of the naturalness argument in terms of renormalized parameters simply trades dependence on a particular regularization scheme for dependence on a particular renormalization scheme, and that one or another form of scheme dependence afflicts all formulations of the Higgs naturalness argument. Concerning the second response, I argue that the grounds for suspending the principle of regularization or renormalization scheme independence in favor of a physically preferred parametrization are thin; the assumption of a physically preferred parametrization, whether in the form of bare “fundamental parameters” or renormalized “physical parameters,” constitutes a theoretical idle wheel in generating the confirmed predictions of established EFTs, which are invariably scheme-independent. I highlight certain features of the alternative understanding of EFTs, and the EFT-based approach to understanding the foundations of QFT, that emerges when one abandons the assumption of a physically preferred parametrization. I explain how this understanding departs from several dogmas concerning the mathematical formulation and physical interpretation of EFTs in high-energy physics.
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DOI 10.1007/s10701-021-00510-4
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References found in this work BETA

Scientific Realism Made Effective.Porter Williams - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):209-237.
Whence the Effectiveness of Effective Field Theories?Alexander Franklin - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (4):1235-1259.
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.

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