How is Quantum Field Theory Possible?

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Oxford University Press, 1995 - Psychology - 280 pages
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Quantum field theory (QFT) combines quantum mechanics with Einstein's special theory of relativity and underlies elementary particle physics. This book presents a philosophical analysis of QFT. It is the first treatise in which the philosophies of space-time, quantum phenomena, and particle interactions are encompassed in a unified framework. Describing the physics in nontechnical terms, and schematically illustrating complex ideas, the book also serves as an introduction to fundamental physical theories. The philosophical interpretation both upholds the reality of the quantum world and acknowledges the irreducible cognitive elements in its representation. The interpretation is based on an analysis of our ways of thinking as the are embedded in the logical structure of QFT. The author argues that philosophical categories are significant only if they play active and essential roles in our knowledge and hence constitute part of the theories in actual use. Thus she regards physical theories as primary, extracts their categorical structure, and uses it to rethink key philosophical questions. Among the questions this book tries to answer are: What are the quantum properties independent of measurements? How do we refer to individual things in a continuous field? How do theories relate to objects? What are the general conditions of the world and of our ways of thinking that make possible our knowledge of the microscopic realm, which is so intangible and counterintuitive? As a penetrating analysis of vital themes in contemporary science, the book will engage the interest of students and professionals in physics and philosophy alike.
  

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Contents

Introduction
3
2 The Categorical Framework of Objective Knowledge
11
Nonrelativistic quantum mechanics
16
4 The Quantum Measurement Problem
22
Relativity and symmetry
26
6 Symmetries in Physics
32
7 The Principles of Relativity and Local Symmetry
38
Quantum field theory
43
21 The Referential Structure of Field Theory
152
Field Quanta
157
Quantum MultipleParticle Systems
160
Explicit relations and the causal order interacting fields
166
25 Permanence Endurance and the Concepts of Time
169
26 How are Regular Successions of Events Possible?
175
Phase and Potential
183
Connection and Parallel Transport
187

9 Fields Quantum Fields and Field Quanta
47
10 Interacting Fields and Gauge Field Theories
54
Object of experiences quantum stateobservablesstatistics
61
12 The Form of Observation and the Reality of Quantum States
70
Eigenvalue and Probability
78
Observables
85
15 The General Concept of Objects in Physical Theories
89
16 The Illusion of the Observer
104
17 The mentalism of YesNo Experiments
113
The event structure and the spatiotemporal structure local fields
119
Events or Local Fields
122
20 The Basic SpatioTemporal Structure of the Physical World
133
Renormalization
189
Epilogue
194
Measure and probability quantity quality modality
197
Individual and Collective Qualities
203
A3 Individual Statistical and Probabilistic Statements
206
Fiber bundle and interaction dynamics
214
The cosmic and the microscopic an application
223
NOTES
229
BIBLIOGRAPHY
265
INDEX
273
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Sunny Y Auyang is at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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