A Did nature or physicists invent the renormalization group?

Or in other words:

The renormalization group is a systematic theoretical framework and a set of elegant (and often effective) mathematical techniques to build effective field theories, valid at large scales, by smoothing out irrelevant fluctuations at smaller scales.

But does the renormalization group also describe something that nature does?

If you think the question doesn't make sense, please say so but also explain why.
 

Orodruin

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Whether physics describes nature or not is a question for experiments and you can only test quantitative predictions. You can never test whether nature ”actually does” something. That is a purely philosophical question. All you can say is ”nature behaves in accordance with the observable predictions of the the theory”.

That being said, I think you should regard the RG as more of a computational tool than as a theory of its own.
 
This question extends towards mathematics as a whole, not only some theoretical physics formalism.

Is mathematics a part of nature? Is it discovered or invented?
I actually like to think that mathematics is the underlying algorithm of the world. We do not invent it, we discover it. The only thing we invent are the symbols like for numbers or signs.

On the other hand, a mathematician can start form all kinds of crazy axioms, that he might have invented himself, and carry out the logic to get to new results. Even if the axioms themselves can't be found in nature. So it's really not that simple.
 

atyy

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Physicists are part of nature.
 
You can never test whether nature ”actually does” something.
Right of course, but intuitive mental models of "what nature actually does' are useful thinking aids.

That being said, I think you should regard the RG as more of a computational tool than as a theory of its own.
Thanks, this is the answer I was looking for.
 

Orodruin

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Right of course, but intuitive mental models of "what nature actually does' are useful thinking aids.
I respectfully disagree. Intuitive models serve only as thinking aids (and it is unclear what should be labled ”intuitive”). I think you should not mistake that for ”nature does this”.
 
I respectfully disagree. Intuitive models serve only as thinking aids (and it is unclear what should be labled ”intuitive”). I think you should not mistake that for ”nature does this”.
I don't - but I am also persuaded that would be unable to think effectively without intuitive models. I need intuitive models, even if they are not entirely right or mostly wrong.

"Intuitive" is something that you understand quickly, easily and permanently. Of course, what is intuitive for me may not be so intuitive for you and vice versa.
 

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