Are all particles identical?

We consider the possibility that all particles in the world are fundamentally identical, i.e., belong to the same species. Different masses, charges, spins, flavors, or colors then merely correspond to different quantum states of the same particle, just as spin-up and spin-down do. The implications of this viewpoint can be best appreciated within Bohmian mechanics, a precise formulation of quantum mechanics with particle trajectories. The implementation of this viewpoint in such a theory leads to trajectories different from those of the usual formulation, and thus to a version of Bohmian mechanics that is inequivalent to, though arguably empirically indistinguishable from, the usual one. The mathematical core of this viewpoint is however rather independent of the detailed dynamical scheme Bohmian mechanics provides, and it amounts to the assertion that the configuration space for N particles, even N “distinguishable particles,” is the set of all N -point subsets of physical 3-space.
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