Weak Discernibility in Quantum Mechanics: Does It Save PII?

Axiomathes 23 (3):461-484 (2013)
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The Weak Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (weak PII), states that numerically distinct items must be discernible by a symmetrical and irreflexive relation. Recently, some authors have proposed that weak PII holds in non relativistic quantum mechanics, contradicting a long tradition claiming PII to be simply false in that theory. The question that arises then is: are relations allowed in the scope of PII? In this paper, we propose that quantum mechanics does not help us in deciding matters concerning that problem, since that is a metaphysical problem rather than a quantum mechanical one. We argue further that weak PII is unmotivated on metaphysical grounds. We examine three metaphysical theses (bundle theory, counting, empiricism) that may provide reasons for one to sustain PII, and we conclude that weak PII gets no independent motivation from them



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Jonas R. B. Arenhart
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina