Countability and self-identity

European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (4):1-23 (2021)
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The Received View of particles in quantum mechanics is that they are indistinguishable entities within their kinds and that, as a consequence, they are not individuals in the metaphysical sense and self-identity does not meaningfully apply to them. Nevertheless cardinality does apply, in that one can have n> 1 such particles. A number of authors have recently argued that this cluster of claims is internally contradictory: roughly, that having more than one such particle requires that the concepts of distinctness and identity must apply after all. A common thread here is that the notion of identity is too fundamental to forego in any metaphysical account. I argue that this argument fails. I then argue that the failure of individuality and identity applies also to macroscopic physical objects, that the problems cannot be constrained to apply only within the microscopic realm.



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Models and Analogies in Science.Mary B. Hesse - 1963 - University of Notre Dame Press.
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Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - In James Ladyman, Don Ross, David Spurrett & John Collier (eds.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press.

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