On Some Troubles with the Metaphysics of Fermionic Compositions

Foundations of Physics 46 (9):1168-1184 (2016)
Authors
Tomasz Bigaj
University of Warsaw
Abstract
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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