Discerning elementary particles

Philosophy of Science 76 (2):179-200 (2009)

Authors
M. P. Seevinck
Utrecht University
F. A. Muller
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Abstract
We maximally extend the quantum‐mechanical results of Muller and Saunders ( 2008 ) establishing the ‘weak discernibility’ of an arbitrary number of similar fermions in finite‐dimensional Hilbert spaces. This confutes the currently dominant view that ( A ) the quantum‐mechanical description of similar particles conflicts with Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII); and that ( B ) the only way to save PII is by adopting some heavy metaphysical notion such as Scotusian haecceitas or Adamsian primitive thisness. We take sides with Muller and Saunders ( 2008 ) against this currently dominant view, which has been expounded and defended by many. *Received July 2008; revised May 2009. †To contact the authors, please write to: F. A. Muller, Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Burg. Oudlaan 50, H5–16, 3062 PA Rotterdam, The Netherlands; e‐mail: f.a.muller@fwb.eur.nl , and Institute for the History and Foundations of Science, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 6, IGG–3.08, 3584 CD Utrecht, The Netherlands; e‐mail: f.a.muller@uu.nl . M. P. Seevinck, Institute for the History and Foundations of Science, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 6, IGG–3.08, 3584 CD Utrecht, The Netherlands; e‐mail: m.p.seevinck@uu.nl.
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DOI 10.1086/647486
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References found in this work BETA

Are Quantum Particles Objects?Simon Saunders - 2006 - Analysis 66 (1):52-63.
On the Identity and Diversity of Objects in a Structure.James Ladyman - 2007 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 81 (1):23--43.
Identity and Individuality in Classical and Quantum Physics.Steven French - 1989 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 67 (4):432 – 446.

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

On Kinds of Indiscernibility in Logic and Metaphysics.Adam Caulton & Jeremy Butterfield - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (1):27-84.
Withering Away, Weakly.F. A. Muller - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):223 - 233.
No Categorial Support for Radical Ontic Structural Realism.Vincent Lam & Christian Wüthrich - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):605-634.
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.

View all 36 citations / Add more citations

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