Graduate studies at Western
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):499 - 548 (2008)
|Abstract||We demonstrate that the quantum-mechanical description of composite physical systems of an arbitrary number of similar fermions in all their admissible states, mixed or pure, for all finite-dimensional Hilbert spaces, is not in conflict with Leibniz's Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII). We discern the fermions by means of physically meaningful, permutation-invariant categorical relations, i.e. relations independent of the quantum-mechanical probabilities. If, indeed, probabilistic relations are permitted as well, we argue that similar bosons can also be discerned in all their admissible states; but their categorical discernibility turns out to be a state-dependent matter. In all demonstrated cases of discernibility, the fermions and the bosons are discerned (i) with only minimal assumptions on the interpretation of quantum mechanics; (ii) without appealing to metaphysical notions, such as Scotusian haecceitas, Lockean substrata, Postian transcendental individuality or Adamsian primitive thisness; and (iii) without revising the general framework of classical elementary predicate logic and standard set theory, thus without revising standard mathematics. This confutes: (a) the currently dominant view that, provided (i) and (ii), the quantum-mechanical description of such composite physical systems always conflicts with PII; and (b) that if PII can be saved at all, the only way to do it is by adopting one or other of the thick metaphysical notions mentioned above. Among the most general and influential arguments for the currently dominant view are those due to Schrodinger, Margenau, Cortes, Dalla Chiara, Di Francia, Redhead, French, Teller, Butterfield, Giuntini, Mittelstaedt, Castellani, Krause and Huggett. We review them succinctly and critically as well as related arguments by van Fraassen and Massimi|
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
F. A. Muller & Simon Saunders (2008). Discerning Fermions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):499-548.
F. A. Muller & M. P. Seevinck (2009). Discerning Elementary Particles. Philosophy of Science 76 (2):179-200.
Adam Caulton (2013). Discerning “Indistinguishable” Quantum Systems. Philosophy of Science 80 (1):49-72.
Michela Massimi (2001). Exclusion Principle and the Identity of Indiscernibles: A Response to Margenau's Argument. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (2):303--30.
Nick Huggett & Josh Norton (2013). Weak Discernibility for Quanta, the Right Way. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axs038.
Adam Caulton & Jeremy Butterfield (2012). Symmetries and Paraparticles as a Motivation for Structuralism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (2):233-285.
James Ladyman & Tomasz Bigaj (2010). The Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles and Quantum Mechanics. Philosophy of Science 77 (1):117-136.
Steven French & Michael Redhead (1988). Quantum Physics and the Identity of Indiscernibles. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 39 (2):233-246.
Gerard A. J. M. Jagers Op Akkerhuis & Nico van Straalen (1999). Operators, the Lego-Bricks of Nature: Evolutionary Transitions From Fermions to Neural Networks. World Futures 53 (4):329-345.
Ernst Binz, Maurice A. De Gosson & Basil J. Hiley (2013). Clifford Algebras in Symplectic Geometry and Quantum Mechanics. Foundations of Physics 43 (4):424-439.
Simon Saunders (2003). Physics and Leibniz's Principles. In Katherine Brading & Elena Castellani (eds.), Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections. Cambridge University Press.
Added to index2012-03-12
Total downloads17 ( #78,143 of 739,357 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #61,680 of 739,357 )
How can I increase my downloads?