Foundations of Physics 46 (9):1168-1184 (2016)

Tomasz Bigaj
University of Warsaw
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 of a given composite system. I specify the problem in detail, and I consider several strategies of solving it. The preferred solution of the problem is based on the premise that spatial location should play a privileged role in identifying and making reference to quantum-mechanical systems.
Keywords Composite fermionic systems  Individuality  GMW-entanglement  Permutation invariance
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DOI 10.1007/s10701-016-0013-z
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References found in this work BETA

Are Quantum Particles Objects?Simon Saunders - 2006 - Analysis 66 (1):52-63.
Discerning Fermions.Simon Saunders & F. A. Muller - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):499 - 548.
Physics and Leibniz's Principles.Simon Saunders - 2003 - In Katherine Brading & Elena Castellani (eds.), Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections. Cambridge University Press. pp. 289--307.

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Citations of this work BETA

Identity and Individuality in Quantum Theory.Steven French - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Leibniz, Kant, and Referring in the Quantum Domain.Cord Friebe - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-16.
Synchronic and diachronic identity for elementary particles.Tomasz Bigaj - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-17.

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