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

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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 (1995), Malament (1996) and Arageorgis (1995) 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-406
Number of pages32
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Logic

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