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  1. Discerning Elementary Particles.F. A. Muller & M. P. Seevinck - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (2):179-200.
    We maximally extend the quantum‐mechanical results of Muller and Saunders ( 2008 ) establishing the ‘weak discernibility’ of an arbitrary number of similar fermions in finite‐dimensional Hilbert spaces. This confutes the currently dominant view that ( A ) the quantum‐mechanical description of similar particles conflicts with Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII); and that ( B ) the only way to save PII is by adopting some heavy metaphysical notion such as Scotusian haecceitas or Adamsian primitive thisness. We (...)
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  • On Kinds of Indiscernibility in Logic and Metaphysics.Adam Caulton & Jeremy Butterfield - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (1):27-84.
    Using the Hilbert-Bernays account as a spring-board, we first define four ways in which two objects can be discerned from one another, using the non-logical vocabulary of the language concerned. Because of our use of the Hilbert-Bernays account, these definitions are in terms of the syntax of the language. But we also relate our definitions to the idea of permutations on the domain of quantification, and their being symmetries. These relations turn out to be subtle---some natural conjectures about them are (...)
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  • The Parthood of Indiscernibles.Lidia Obojska - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-13.
    In the following work we propose to incorporate the main feature of quantum mechanics, i.e., the concept of indiscernibility. To achieve this goal, first we present two models of set theories: a quasi-set theory and a non-antisymmetric mereology. Next, we show how specific objects of QST—m-atoms—can be defined within NAM. Finally, we introduce a concept of a parthood of indiscernibles and discuss its features in respect to standard notions of indiscernibles and within NAM.
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  • The Rise of Relationals.F. A. Muller - 2015 - Mind 124 (493):201-237.
    I begin by criticizing an elaboration of an argument in this journal due to Hawley , who argued that, where Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles faces counterexamples, invoking relations to save PII fails. I argue that insufficient attention has been paid to a particular distinction. I proceed by demonstrating that in most putative counterexamples to PII , the so-called Discerning Defence trumps the Summing Defence of PII. The general kind of objects that do the discerning in all cases (...)
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  • A Modal-Hamiltonian Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Olimpia Lombardi & Mario Castagnino - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (2):380-443.
    The aim of this paper is to introduce a new member of the family of the modal interpretations of quantum mechanics. In this modal-Hamiltonian interpretation, the Hamiltonian of the quantum system plays a decisive role in the property-ascription rule that selects the definite-valued observables whose possible values become actual. We show that this interpretation is effective for solving the measurement problem, both in its ideal and its non-ideal versions, and we argue for the physical relevance of the property-ascription rule by (...)
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  • Particles, Objects, and Physics.Justin Pniower - unknown
    This thesis analyses the ontological nature of quantum particles. In it I argue that quantum particles, despite their indistinguishability, are objects in much the same way as classical particles. This similarity provides an important point of continuity between classical and quantum physics. I consider two notions of indistinguishability, that of indiscernibility and permutation symmetry. I argue that neither sort of indistinguishability undermines the identity of quantum particles. I further argue that, when we understand in distinguishability in terms of permutation symmetry, (...)
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  • Symmetries and Paraparticles as a Motivation for Structuralism.Adam Caulton & Jeremy Butterfield - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (2):233-285.
    This article develops an analogy proposed by Stachel between general relativity (GR) and quantum mechanics (QM) as regards permutation invariance. Our main idea is to overcome Pooley's criticism of the analogy by appeal to paraparticles. In GR, the equations are (the solution space is) invariant under diffeomorphisms permuting spacetime points. Similarly, in QM the equations are invariant under particle permutations. Stachel argued that this feature—a theory's ‘not caring which point, or particle, is which’—supported a structuralist ontology. Pooley criticizes this analogy: (...)
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  • Exchanging Quantum Particles.Tomasz Bigaj - 2015 - Philosophia Scientae 19:185-198.
  • Dissecting Weak Discernibility of Quanta.Tomasz Bigaj - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 50:43-53.
  • On Discernibility and Symmetries.Tomasz Bigaj - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):117-135.
    This paper addresses the issue of the multiplicity of various grades of discernibility that can be defined in model theory. Building upon earlier works on the subject, I first expand the known logical categorizations of discernibility by introducing several symmetry-based concepts of discernibility, including one I call “witness symmetry-discernibility”. Then I argue that only grades of discernibility stronger than this one possess certain intuitive features necessary to individuate objects. Further downsizing of the set of non-equivalent grades of discernibility can be (...)
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  • A Modal Ontology of Properties for Quantum Mechanics.Newton Costa, Olimpia Lombardi & Mariano Lastiri - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3671-3693.
    Our purpose in this paper is to delineate an ontology for quantum mechanics that results adequate to the formalism of the theory. We will restrict our aim to the search of an ontology that expresses the conceptual content of the recently proposed modal-Hamiltonian interpretation, according to which the domain referred to by non-relativistic quantum mechanics is an ontology of properties. The usual strategy in the literature has been to focus on only one of the interpretive problems of the theory and (...)
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  • Lewis's Worldmate Relation and the Apparent Failure of Humean Supervenience.George Darby - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (2):195-204.
    This paper considers two aspects of Lewis 's metaphysics to which spatiotemporal relations appear central, with the aim of showing them to be less so. First, Lewis reluctantly characterises what it is for two things to be part of the same possible world in terms of an analogically spatiotemporal category of relations, rather than a wider natural external category. But Lewis 's reason for restricting himself to the narrower category is unpersuasive. Second, Humean supervenience is formulated with spatiotemporal relations at (...)
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  • Discerning "Indistinguishable" Quantum Systems.Adam Caulton - unknown
    In a series of recent papers, Simon Saunders, Fred Muller and Michael Seevinck have collectively argued, against the folklore, that some non-trivial version of Leibniz's principle of the identity of indiscernibles is upheld in quantum mechanics. They argue that all particles---fermions, paraparticles, anyons, even bosons---may be weakly discerned by some physical relation. Here I show that their arguments make illegitimate appeal to non-symmetric, i.e.~permutation-non-invariant, quantities, and that therefore their conclusions do not go through. However, I show that alternative, symmetric quantities (...)
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  • Entanglement and the Metaphysician on the Clapham Omnibus.George Darby - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):387-396.
    This paper explores some of the consequences of quantum entanglement for the mainstream metaphysician. The basic idea that entanglement has metaphysical consequences in the form of some kind of “holism” is familiar in the philosophy of physics literature, and finds its way into recent metaphysics, in discussions of failure of Humean supervenience, monism and emergence, for example. The principle aim here is to highlight some questions of detail that occur when attempting to make contact with those metaphysical debates as they (...)
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  • On Some Troubles with the Metaphysics of Fermionic Compositions.Tomasz Bigaj - 2016 - Foundations of Physics 46 (9):1168-1184.
    In this paper I discuss some metaphysical consequences of an unorthodox approach to the problem of the identity and individuality of “indistinguishable” quantum particles. This approach is based on the assumption that the only admissible way of individuating separate components of a given system is with the help of the permutation-invariant qualitative properties of the total system. Such a method of individuation, when applied to fermionic compositions occupying so-called GMW-nonentangled states, yields highly implausible consequences regarding the number of distinct components (...)
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  • Identity, Superselection Theory and the Statistical Properties of Quantum Fields.David John Baker - unknown
    The permutation symmetry of quantum mechanics is widely thought to imply a sort of metaphysical underdetermination about the identity of particles. Despite claims to the contrary, this implication does not hold in the more fundamental quantum field theory, where an ontology of particles is not generally available. Although permutations are often defined as acting on particles, a more general account of permutation symmetry can be formulated using superselection theory. As a result, permutation symmetry applies even in field theories with no (...)
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  • Discerning Fermions.Simon Saunders & F. A. Muller - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):499 - 548.
    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 (...)
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  • Relational Holism and Humean Supervenience.G. Darby - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (4):773-788.
    It has been widely noted that Humean supervenience , according to which everything supervenes on intrinsic properties of point-sized things and the spatiotemporal relations between them, is at odds with the nonlocal character of quantum mechanics, according to which not everything supervenes on intrinsic properties of point-sized things and the spatiotemporal relations between them. In particular, a standard view is that the parts of a composite quantum system instantiate further relations which are not accounted for in Lewis's Humean mosaic. But (...)
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  • A Modal-Hamiltonian Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Olimpia Lombardi & Mario Castagnino - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (2):380-443.
    The aim of this paper is to introduce a new member of the family of the modal interpretations of quantum mechanics. In this modal-Hamiltonian interpretation, the Hamiltonian of the quantum system plays a decisive role in the property-ascription rule that selects the definite-valued observables whose possible values become actual. We show that this interpretation is effective for solving the measurement problem, both in its ideal and its non-ideal versions, and we argue for the physical relevance of the property-ascription rule by (...)
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  • Entanglement and Non-Factorizability.James Ladyman, Øystein Linnebo & Tomasz Bigaj - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):215-221.
    Quantum mechanics tells us that states involving indistinguishable fermions must be antisymmetrized. This is often taken to mean that indistinguishable fermions are always entangled. We consider several notions of entanglement and argue that on the best of them, indistinguishable fermions are not always entangled. We also present a simple but unconventional way of representing fermionic states that allows us to maintain a link between entanglement and non-factorizability.
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  • Grades of Individuality. A Pluralistic View of Identity in Quantum Mechanics and in the Sciences.Mauro Dorato & Matteo Morganti - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):591-610.
    This paper offers a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the identity and individuality of material objects. Its main aim, in particular, is to show that, in a sense to be carefully specified, the opposition between the Leibnizian ‘reductionist’ tradition, based on discernibility, and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated. In particular, it is argued that—contrary to a widespread consensus—‘naturalised’ metaphysics supports both the acceptability (...)
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  • Lewis's Worldmate Relation and the Apparent Failure of Humean Supervenience.George Darby - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (2):195-204.
    This paper considers two aspects of Lewis's metaphysics to which spatiotemporal relations appear central, with the aim of showing them to be less so. First, Lewis reluctantly characterises what it is for two things to be part of the same possible world in terms of an analogically spatiotemporal category of relations, rather than a wider natural external category. But Lewis's reason for restricting himself to the narrower category is unpersuasive. Second, Humean supervenience is formulated with spatiotemporal relations at its core. (...)
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  • A Formal Framework for the Study of the Notion of Undefined Particle Number in Quantum Mechanics.Newton C. A. Da Costa & Federico Holik - 2015 - Synthese 192 (2):505-523.
    It is usually stated that quantum mechanics presents problems with the identity of particles, the most radical position—supported by E. Schrödinger—asserting that elementary particles are not individuals. But the subject goes deeper, and it is even possible to obtain states with an undefined particle number. In this work we present a set theoretical framework for the description of undefined particle number states in quantum mechanics which provides a precise logical meaning for this notion. This construction goes in the line of (...)
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  • A Modal Ontology of Properties for Quantum Mechanics.Newton da Costa, Olimpia Lombardi & Mariano Lastiri - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3671-3693.
    Our purpose in this paper is to delineate an ontology for quantum mechanics that results adequate to the formalism of the theory. We will restrict our aim to the search of an ontology that expresses the conceptual content of the recently proposed modal-Hamiltonian interpretation, according to which the domain referred to by non-relativistic quantum mechanics is an ontology of properties. The usual strategy in the literature has been to focus on only one of the interpretive problems of the theory and (...)
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