PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Why are there ultraviolet divergences at all?

While the presence of ultraviolet divergences has been taken to be an inevitable consequence of representing realistic fi eld interactions, by appealing to techniques from causal perturbation theory I argue that they are in fact an artifact of the particular choice of mathematical
structures that are used in standard characterizations of quantum fi eld theory. I show that with a diff erent choice of structures the divergences, and hence renormalization, can be avoided. I argue that this situation motivates taking formal power series seriously as the mathematical objects to which physical meaning accrues in empirically adequate models.

Author Information:

Michael Miller    
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
University of Pittsburgh


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