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The Standard Model as a Philosophical Challenge*

Edward MacKinnon
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 75, No. 4 (October 2008), pp. 447-457
DOI: 10.1086/595864
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/595864
Page Count: 11
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The Standard Model as a Philosophical Challenge*
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Abstract

There are two opposing traditions in contemporary quantum field theory (QFT). Mainstream Lagrangian QFT led to and supports the standard model of particle interactions. Algebraic QFT seeks to provide a rigorous consistent mathematical foundation for field theory, but cannot accommodate the local gauge interactions of the standard model. Interested philosophers face a choice. They can accept algebraic QFT on the grounds of mathematical consistency and general accord with the semantic conception of theory interpretation. This suggests a rejection of particle ontology. Or they can accept the standard model on the grounds of its established success. This alternative, which I defend, suggests revising philosophical accounts of scientific theory and finding some way of accommodating particles.

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