Foundations of Physics 38 (10):923-934 (2008)

Authors
Dennis Dieks
Utrecht University
Abstract
Saunders has recently claimed that “identical quantum particles” with an anti-symmetric state (fermions) are weakly discernible objects, just like irreflexively related ordinary objects in situations with perfect symmetry (Black’s spheres, for example). Weakly discernible objects have all their qualitative properties in common but nevertheless differ from each other by virtue of (a generalized version of) Leibniz’s principle, since they stand in relations an entity cannot have to itself. This notion of weak discernibility has been criticized as question begging, but we defend and accept it for classical cases likes Black’s spheres. We argue, however, that the quantum mechanical case is different. Here the application of the notion of weak discernibility indeed is question begging and in conflict with standard interpretational ideas. We conclude that the introduction of the conceptual resource of weak discernibility does not change the interpretational status quo in quantum mechanics
Keywords Identical particles  Weak discernibility  Leibniz’s principle  Structuralism
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DOI 10.1007/s10701-008-9243-z
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References found in this work BETA

The Identity of Indiscernibles.Max Black - 1952 - Mind 61 (242):153-164.
Primitive Thisness and Primitive Identity.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1979 - Journal of Philosophy 76 (1):5-26.
Are Quantum Particles Objects?Simon Saunders - 2006 - Analysis 66 (1):52-63.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ontic Structural Realism as a Metaphysics of Objects.Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam - 2011 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 143-159.
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.
Identical Quantum Particles as Distinguishable Objects.Dennis Dieks & Andrea Lubberdink - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-16.

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