Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 335–350

A Philosophical Look at the Higgs Mechanism


DOI: 10.1007/s10838-014-9257-5

Cite this article as:
Friederich, S. J Gen Philos Sci (2014) 45: 335. doi:10.1007/s10838-014-9257-5


On the occasion of the recent experimental detection of a Higgs-type particle at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the paper reviews philosophical aspects of the Higgs mechanism as the presently preferred account of the generation of particle masses in the Standard Model of elementary particle physics and its most discussed extensions. The paper serves a twofold purpose: on the one hand, it offers an introduction to the Higgs mechanism and its most interesting philosophical aspects to readers not familiar with it; on the other hand, it clarifies widespread misunderstandings related to the role of gauge symmetries and their breaking in it.


Higgs mechanism Gauge symmetries Quantum field theory Symmetry breaking 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität GöttingenGōttingenGermany

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