Aspects of field theory with higher derivatives

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I will discuss related aspects of field theories with higher-derivative Lagrangians but second-order equations of motion, with a focus on the Lovelock and Horndeski classes that have found use in modifications to general relativity. In the first half I will investigate when restricting to such terms is and is not well-justified from an effective field theory perspective. In the second half I will discuss how non-perturbative effects, like domain walls and quantum tunneling, are modified in the presence of these kinetic terms