 
Virtual Processes as Prior Generative Levels
Potentials from Virtual Particle Exchange
 Where does the Hamiltonian come from? We cannot just invent it!
 We know that the potential energy part of the Hamiltonian really comes
from fieldtheoretic virtual processes. What are these events?
 Kinetic energy, also, has a mass which is ‘dressed’ by virtual
processes.
 Propose: the Energy Operator is itself ‘generated’ by (further)
previous levels.
Propensities for Virtual Processes
 Propose: 2 linked sets each of three generative levels
 both with (broadly) corresponding processes,
 i.e. still in pattern ‘Principle » Cause » Effect’.
 Virtual processes (in some way) ‘generate’ the terms of the Energy
Operator (the Hamiltonian).
Virtual ‘Principle » Cause » Effect’
 The fieldtheoretic Lagrangian + Variational Principle starts the
generative sequence.
 Propagating field quanta (virtual quantum field substances),
 e.g. photons, gluons, quarks, leptons, ...
 derived from the Lagrangian by a Variational Principle.
 generate virtual events when interacting.
 Virtual events (of quantum field theory) are point events which
generate the potential energy part of the Hamiltonian operator.
 They do not all actually occur because, for example, they may
generate potentials that are never active in the selected sequence of
actual outcomes.
Virtual and Actual Events
VIRTUAL EVENTS

ACTUAL EVENTS


Point events (not=point measurements)

Interactions

Microscopic interactions

Continuous

Deterministic (apparently)

Contribute to alternate futures

Have intrinsic group structure (e.g. gauge invariance, renormalisation)


Visible events in history (e.g. measurement)

Selections

Macroscopic decoherence

Discrete

Probabilistic

Definitely occur (or not)

Have branching tree structure

Many possible virtual events contribute to given actual process, such
as electronelectron scattering:
Complications: are all the stages needed?
 Some physicists try to derive probabilities of actual outcomes directly
from field theory, without a Hamiltonian or potential. Is the idea of a
potential only an approximation suitable for some energy scales?
 I would ask: Are there not still some roles for mass, kinetic and potential
energy, & energy conservation?
 I agree that a Hamiltonian (etc) is a ‘composite object’, whose detail
reflects its genesis:
Summary
 More work needed to understand the mathematical substructures at each level,
 But 'virtual processes' do appear to be a level of processes that generates
the Hamiltonians for normal quantum objects.
