Philosophical perspectives on ad hoc hypotheses and the Higgs mechanism

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Synthese, ISSN: 0039-7857, Vol: 191, Issue: 16, Page: 3897-3917

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Friederich, Simon; Harlander, Robert V.; Karaca, Koray
Springer Nature
Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences
article description
We examine physicists’ charge of ad hocness against the Higgs mechanism in the standard model of elementary particle physics. We argue that even though this charge never rested on a clear-cut and well-entrenched definition of “ad hoc”, it is based on conceptual and methodological assumptions and principles that are well-founded elements of the scientific practice of high-energy particle physics. We further evaluate the implications of the recent discovery of a Higgs-like particle at the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider for the charge of ad hocness against the Higgs mechanism.