Particle labels and the theory of indistinguishable particles in quantum mechanics

Paul Teller
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
We extend the work of French and Redhead [1988] further examining the relation of quantum statistics to the assumption that quantum entities have the sort of identity generally assumed for physical objects, more specifically an identity which makes them susceptible to being thought of as conceptually individuatable and labelable even though they cannot be experimentally distinguished. We also further examine the relation of such hypothesized identity of quantum entities to the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles. We conclude that although such an assumption of identity is consistent with the facts of quantum statistics, methodological considerations show that we should take quantum entities to be entirely unindividuatable, in the way suggested by a Fock space description.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/43.2.201
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References found in this work BETA

Quantum Physics and the Identity of Indiscernibles.Steven French & Michael Redhead - 1988 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 39 (2):233-246.
Symmetry in Intertheory Relations.M. L. G. Redhead - 1975 - Synthese 32 (1-2):77 - 112.
The Metaphysics of Quantum Theory.Henry Krips - 1991 - Philosophical Review 100 (3):490-492.

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Citations of this work BETA

Are There Non-Causal Explanations ?Brdford Skow - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):445-467.
Discerning Fermions.Simon Saunders & F. A. Muller - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):499 - 548.
Are There Non-Causal Explanations (of Particular Events)?Brdford Skow - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (3):axs047.
Physics and Leibniz's Principles.Simon Saunders - 2003 - In Katherine Brading & Elena Castellani (eds.), Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections. Cambridge University Press. pp. 289--307.
The Fate of 'Particles' in Quantum Field Theories with Interactions.Doreen Fraser - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (4):841-859.

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