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Abstract

This is the first of a two-part introduction to some interpretive questions that arise in connection with quantum field theories (QFTs). Some of these questions are continuous with those familiar from the discussion of ordinary non-relativistic quantum mechanics (QM). For example, questions about locality can be rigorously posed and fruitfully pursued within the framework of QFT. A stark disanalogy between QFTs and ordinary QM – the former, but not the latter, typically admit infinitely many putatively physically inequivalent realizations – prompts relatively novel questions, questions about how to understand and adjudicate different strategies for equipping quantum theories with content. Part I sketches the fate of locality and related notions in QFT, then documents the non-uniqueness unprecedented in ordinary QM but rampant in QFT. Part II presents foundations issues raised by non-uniqueness.