||Although there are many fine textbooks on quantum field theory, they all have various shortcomings. Instinct is claimed as a basis for most discussions of quantum field theory, though clearly this topic is too recent to affect evolution. Their subjectivity more accurately identifies this as fashion: (1) The old-fashioned approach justifies itself with the instinct of intuition. However, anyone who remembers when they first learned quantum mechanics or special relativity knows they are counter-intuitive; quantum field theory is the synthesis of those two topics. Thus, the intuition in this case is probably just habit: Such an approach is actually historical or traditional, recounting the chronological development of the subject. Generally the first half (or volume) is devoted to quantum electrodynamics, treated in the way it was viewed in the 1950's, while the second half tells the story of quantum chromodynamics, as it was understood in the 1970's. Such a "dualistic" approach is necessarily redundant, e.g., using canonical quantization for QED but path-integral quantization for QCD, contrary to scientific principles, which advocate applying the same "unified" methods to all theories. While some teachers may feel more comfortable by beginning a topic the way they first learned it, students may wonder why the course didn't begin with the approach that they will wind up using in the end. Topics that are unfamiliar to the author's intuition are often labeled as "formal" (lacking substance) or even "mathematical" (devoid of physics). Recent topics are usually treated there as advanced: The opposite is often true, since explanations simplify with time, as the topic is better understood. On the positive side, this approach generally presents topics with better experimental verification.
(2) In contrast, the fashionable approach is described as being based on the instinct of beauty. But this subjective beauty of art is not the instinctive beauty of nature, and in science it is merely a consolation. Treatments based on this approach are usually found in review articles rather than textbooks, due to the shorter life expectancy of the latest fashion. On the other hand, this approach has more imagination than the traditional one, and attempts to capture the future of the subject.
A related issue in the treatment of field theory is the relative importance of concepts vs. calculations: (1) Some texts emphasize the concepts, including those which have not proven of practical value, but were considered motivational historically (in the traditional approach) or currently (in the artistic approach). However, many approaches that were once considered at the forefront of research have faded into oblivion not because they were proven wrong by experimental evidence or lacked conceptual attractiveness, but because they were too complex for calculation, or so vague they lacked predicitive ability. Some methods claimed total generality, which they used to