How Is Quantum Field Theory Possible?

Paperback | July 27, 1995

bySunny Y. Auyang

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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 particleinteractions 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 worldand 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 essentialroles 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 propertiesindependent 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 andcounterintuitive? 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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From Our Editors

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.

From the Publisher

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 particleinteractions are encompassed in a unified fr...

From the Jacket

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.

Sunny Y Auyang is at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.17 × 6.06 × 0.79 inPublished:July 27, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195093453

ISBN - 13:9780195093452

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Table of Contents

PART 1: Introduction1. A Human View of the World in Quantum Field Theory2. The Categorical Framework of Objective KnowledgePART 2: Nonrelativistic Quantum Mechanics3. The Structure of Quantum Mechanics4. The Quantum Measurement ProblemPART 3: Relativity and Symmetries5. Geometry and Space-time6. Symmetries in Physics7. The Principles of Relativity and Local SymmetryPART 4: Quantum Field Theory8. Quantum Fields and Elementary Particles9. Fields, Quantum Fields, and Field Quanta10. Interacting Field and Gauge Field TheoryPART 5: Objects of Experiences: Quantum States-Observables-Statistics11. Properties and Quantum Properties12. The Form of Observation and the Reality of Quantum States13. The Gap in Understanding: Eigenvalue and Probability14. Coordinatization of the Quantum World: Observables15. The General Concept of Objects in Physical Theories16. The Illusion of the Observer17. The Mentalism Behind Yes-no ExperimentsPART 6: The Event-structure and the Spatio-temporal Order: Local Fields18. The Whole and the Individual: Field and Event19. This-Something: Events or Local Fields20. The Basic Spatio-temporal Structure of the Physical World21. The Referential Structure of Field Theory22. The States of the Field as a Whole: Field Quanta23. Identity and Diversity: Quantum Multi-Particle SystemsPART 7: Explicit Relations and the Causal Order: Interacting Fields24. The Constancy of Prediction and the Cement of the Universe25. Permanence, Endurance, and the Concepts of Time26. How Are Regular Successions of Events Possible?27. Relational Properties: Phase and Potential28. Causal Relations: Connection and Parallel Transport29. Thoroughgoing Interaction: RenormalizationPART 8: Epilogue30. The Intelligibility of the Objective WorldAppendix A: Measure and Probability: Quantity, Quality, ModalityA1. Measure: The General Concept of Extensive MagnitudesA2. Function and Distribution: Individual and Collective QualitiesA3. Individual, Statistical, and Probabilistic StatementsAppendix B: Fiber BundlesAppendix C: The Cosmic and the Microscopic: An Application

From Our Editors

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.

Editorial Reviews

"The union of quantum mechanics and special relativity and its importance to the basic structure of the physical world."--Science and Spirit