Archive for January, 2017

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“Three Obstacles to the Interpretation of Quantum Field Theory” (1/19/17)

January 19, 2017

Michael Miller

Abstract: We have it on good authority that the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics. In this talk I will consider three problems for this view that arise in quantum field theory, our best theory of the fundamental constituents of matter.  Each of the problems takes the form of an inconsistency in the mathematical foundations of the theory. I show that each of the inconsistencies can be overcome by taking the empirical content of the theory to be inexact. This shows that we can still regard mathematics as the language in which meaningful claims about the world are expressed, but it is a language that functions rather differently than has been assumed.