Quantum Haecceity

Abstract

There is an extensive philosophical literature on the interrelated issues of identity, individuality, and distinguishability in quantum systems. A key consideration is whether quantum systems are subject to a strong form of individuality termed ``haecceity'' (from the Latin for ``this-ness''). I argue that the traditional, strong form of haecceity does not apply at the quantum level, but that in order to properly account for the need for symmetrization in quantum systems, a weaker kind of haecceity must be involved, which I call quantum haecceity. In the process, I also question some generally accepted tenets of the current debate, such as the idea that symmetrization of states for identical quanta must be postulated and reflects permutation invariance. Instead, I note that a perturbative Hamiltonian is required for exchange effects, which suggests that the need for symmetrization arises from specific physical conditions.

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