I have a conceptual difficulty in understanding the electron spin. On the one hand, it is an experimental, observable feature of electrons. The problem is in understanding to what it belongs - to a bare electron or to an electron already coupled to the electromagnetic field. I think it is the latter. In other words, the electron spin characterizes a complicated object (a real system) rather than a "free" (non interacting) electron. It is like the total spin of a compound system. On the other hand, in theory we ascribe it to a "bare" electron solely. Do you think we have a conceptual problem here?
closed as not constructive by mbq♦ Apr 29 '11 at 19:57
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There is no conceptual problem. The bare electron field is a Dirac, spin-1/2 field, and so is the renormalized field. A bare electron carries $j=1/2$, and so does the physical, renormalized electron.
In fact, because spin is a discrete quantum number, a continuous process such as renormalization (a process that depends either on a continuous coupling $e$ or the mass scale $\mu$) couldn't change the value of such a quantum number.
So the equal value of both spins is not only free of contradictions; it is inevitable.