David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 89 (2):253 - 271 (1991)
If quantum mechanics (QM) is to be taken as an atomistic theory with the elementary particles as atoms (an ATEP), then the elementary particlcs must be individuals. There must then be, for each elementary particle a, a property being identical with a that a alone has. But according to QM, elementary particles of the same kind share all physical properties. Thus, if QM is an ATEP, identity is a metaphysical but not a physical property. That has unpalatable consequences. Dropping the assumption that QM is an ATEP makes it possible to replace the assumption that elementary particles are individuals with the assumption that there are various kinds of elementary stuff that have smallest quantities — the smallest quantity of light, for example, is a photon. The problems about identity disappear, and the explanatory virtues of an ATEP are maintained.
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Citations of this work BETA
Anjan Chakravartty (2004). Structuralism as a Form of Scientific Realism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2 & 3):151 – 171.
Lucía Lewowicz & Olimpia Lombardi (2013). Stuff Versus Individuals. Foundations of Chemistry 15 (1):65-77.
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Paul Needham (1993). Stuff. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 71 (3):270-290.
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