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Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking in Quantum Field Theories : A road to a realistic interpretation

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  • Quantum Field Theory
  • Realism/Anti-Realism
  • Philosophy


The present essay investigates physical and philosophical arguments for a realistic account of spontaneous symmetry breaking and of the Higgs mechanism. While philosophers of physics have largely acknowledged the heuristic value of these procedures, I go on to defending that any dismissal of a realistic counterpart is left undecided and that, against the odds, this counterpart is indeed supported by theoretical determinations. However, an epistemological support is not sufficient and all the more so since the Higgs mechanism is built on breaking local gauge symmetries usually reported as relating redundant descriptions. Even the link between the Higgs mechanism and spontaneous symmetry breaking is questionable. My principal argument is thus to encompass these issues in the one of effective field theories, only valid at a certain range of energy, which does not necessarily refute a realistic interpretation of the Higgs mechanism.

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