, Volume 191, Issue 16, pp 3897–3917

Philosophical perspectives on ad hoc hypotheses and the Higgs mechanism


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-014-0504-4

Cite this article as:
Friederich, S., Harlander, R. & Karaca, K. Synthese (2014) 191: 3897. doi:10.1007/s11229-014-0504-4


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.


Ad hoc hypothesis Higgs mechanism Particle physics Spontaneous symmetry braking Fine-tuning Naturalness 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Friederich
    • 1
  • Robert Harlander
    • 2
  • Koray Karaca
    • 3
  1. 1.Philosophisches SeminarUniversität GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Theoretische TeilchenphysikFachbereich C, Universität WuppertalWuppertalGermany
  3. 3.Interdisciplinary Centre for Science and Technology Studies (IZWT)University of WuppertalWuppertalGermany

Personalised recommendations