Seminar on History and Philosophy of Science
Quantum Field Theory (QFT) is the successful paradigm underlying modern theoretical physics, including the "Core Theory" of the Standard Model of particle physics plus Einstein's general relativity. I will argue that QFT, and in particular the notion of an "effective field theory," grants us a unique insight: each QFT model comes with a built-in specification of its domain of applicability. Hence, once a model is tested within some domain (of energies and interaction strengths), we can be confident that it will continue to be accurate within that domain. Currently, the Core Theory has been tested in regimes that include all of the energy scales relevant to the physics of everyday life (biology, chemistry, etc.). Therefore, we have reason to be confident that the laws of physics underlying the phenomena of everyday life are completely known.