The physics and metaphysics of identity and individuality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9463-7 Authors Don Howard, Department of Philosophy and Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Elena Castellani, Department of Philosophy, University of Florence, Via Bolognese 52, 50139 (...) Florence, Italy Laura Crosilla, Department of Pure Mathematics, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Décio Krause, Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88040-900 Campus Trindade, Florianópolis, SC Brazil Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
Steven French and Decio Krause examine the metaphysical foundations of quantum physics. They draw together historical, logical, and philosophical perspectives on the fundamental nature of quantum particles and offer new insights on a range of important issues. Focusing on the concepts of identity and individuality, the authors explore two alternative metaphysical views; according to one, quantum particles are no different from books, tables, and people in this respect; according to the other, they most certainly are. Each view comes with (...) certain costs attached and after describing their origins in the history of quantum theory, the authors carefully consider whether these costs are worth bearing. Recent contributions to these discussions are analyzed in detail and the authors present their own original perspective on the issues. The final chapter suggests how this perspective can be taken forward in the context of quantum field theory. (shrink)
We critically examine the claim that identity is a fundamental concept. According to those putting forward this thesis, there are four related reasons that can be called upon to ground the fundamental character of identity: identity is presupposed in every conceptual system; identity is required to characterize individuality; identity cannot be defined; the intelligibility of quantification requires identity. We address each of these points and argue that none of them advances compelling reasons to hold that identity is fundamental; in fact, (...) most of the tasks that seem to require identity may be performed without identity. So, in the end, identity may not be a fundamental concept after all. (shrink)
Quarantine and spatial distancing measures associated with COVID-19 resulted in substantial changes to individuals’ everyday lives. Prominent among these lifestyle changes was the way in which people interacted with media—including music listening. In this repeated assessment study, we assessed Australian university students’ media use throughout early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, and determined whether media use was related to changes in life satisfaction. Participants were asked to complete six online questionnaires, capturing pre- and during-pandemic experiences. The results indicated (...) that media use varied substantially throughout the study period, and at the within-person level, life satisfaction was positively associated with music listening and negatively associated with watching TV/videos/movies. The findings highlight the potential benefits of music listening during COVID-19 and other periods of social isolation. (shrink)
This volume, edited by a philosopher and an anthropologist, is a collection of essays on the philosophical implications of laboratory and field research. While neither the best nor the worst of the genre, it is a collection that offers a representative sample of traditional themes. As practicing scientists who view the implications of behavioural research from a somewhat different perspective we offer this critical review.
The concept of non-domination is an important contribution to the study of freedom but it does not comprehend the whole of freedom. Insofar as domination requires a conscious capacity for control on the part of the dominant party, it fails to capture important threats to individual freedom that permeate many contemporary liberal democracies today. Much of the racism, sexism and other cultural biases that currently constrain the life-chances of members of subordinate groups in the USA are largely unconscious and unintentional, (...) and they do not always involve control. Although they constitute real barriers to freedom, these forms of influence are not accurately characterized as domination, and they will require different mechanisms to overcome them. To achieve the more capacious freedoms that liberal democracy promises, we will need to go beyond non-domination and to come to terms with the non-sovereign, socially distributed character of human agency. (shrink)
A case study of growers conception of irrigation strategies indicates that pot plant growers in Scandinavia base their management approaches on experientially based art. The study also indicates that there is a gap between experientially based art and available greenhouse technology. In order to standardize production and produce quality, both the growerâs experience and available technology should be taken into account. In order to achieve this, the present study proposes to arrange reflection on reflection in action with a group of (...) growers by means of the dialogue seminar method. The concept of reflection on reflection in action is novel to horticultural practice. Therefore, we suggest future inter- and multidisciplinary research within this domain. (shrink)
In this paper I consider some logical and mathematical aspects of the discussion of the identity and individuality of quantum entities. I shall point out that for some aspects of the discussion, the logical basis cannot be put aside; on the contrary, it leads us to unavoidable conclusions which may have consequences in how we articulate certain concepts related to quantum theory. Behind the discussion, there is a general argument which suggests the possibility of a metaphysics of non-individuals, based on (...) a reasonable interpretation of quantum basic entities. I close the paper with a suggestion that consists in emphasizing that quanta should be referred to by the cardinalities of the collections to which they belong, for which an adequate mathematical framework seems to be possible. (shrink)
This paper develops a formal framework to model a process in which the formation of individual opinions is embedded in a deliberative exchange with others. The paper opts for a low-resolution modeling approach and abstracts away from most of the details of the social-epistemic process. Taking a bird's eye view allows us to analyze the chances for the truth to be found and broadly accepted under conditions of cognitive division of labour combined with a social exchange process. Cognitive division of (...) labour means that only some individuals are active truth seekers, possibly with different capacities. Both mathematical tools and computer simulations are used to investigate the model. As an analytical result, the Funnel Theorem states that under rather weak conditions on the social process, a consensus on the truth will be reached if all individuals possess an arbitrarily small capacity to go for the truth. The Leading the pack Theorem states that under certain conditions even a single truth seeker may lead all individuals to the truth. Systematic simulations analyze how close agents can get to the truth depending upon the frequency of truth seekers, their capacities as truth seekers, the position of the truth (more to the extreme or more in the centre of an opinion space), and the willingness to take into account the opinions of others when exchanging and updating opinions. (shrink)
In their vulnerability to arbitrary, exploitative uses of human power, many of Earth’s nonhuman parts are subject to environmental domination. People too are subject to environmental domination in ways that include but also extend beyond the special environmental burdens borne by those who are poor and marginalized. Despite the substantial inequalities that exist among us as human beings, we are all captured and exploited by the eco-damaging collective practices that constitute modern life for everyone today. Understanding the complex, interacting dynamics (...) of environmental domination can orient us to a more liberatory approach to our environmental problems and to one another, both human and nonhuman. To make good on this potential, however, we need to move beyond existing conceptions of domination. This essay reconstructs the concept of domination to illuminate the multiple ways that the human domination of nature interacts with the domination of people, and it identifies changes that could support more emancipatory forms of political order, a politics of non-domination for people and the Earth. (shrink)
The concept of indiscernibility in a structure is analysed with the aim of emphasizing that in asserting that two objects are indiscernible, it is useful to consider these objects as members of (the domain of) a structure. A case for this usefulness is presented by examining the consequences of this view to the philosophical discussion on identity and indiscernibility in quantum theory.
H. Post's conception of quantal particles as non-individuals is set in a formal logico-mathematical framework. By means of this approach certain metaphysical implications of quantum mechanics can be further explored.
A better appreciation of the material, distributed quality of human agency can illuminate subtle dynamics of domination and oppression and reveal resources for potentially liberatory political action. Materialist accounts of agency nevertheless pose challenges to the notion of personal responsibility that is so crucial to political obligation and democratic citizenship. To guard against this danger, we need to sustain the close connection between agency and a sense of selfhood that is individuated, reflexive, and responsive to norms. Yet we should acknowledge (...) that reflexive selfhood is not the whole of individual agency for the sources of agency extend beyond the individual herself. We also need to recognize the ways that both reflexivity and norm-responsiveness are themselves embodied capacities. When properly conceived, a materialist view of agency can increase awareness of our oftenunwitting contributions to systematic inequalities of power and extend our political responsibilities in emancipatory directions, thus holding great promise for democratic life. (shrink)
Physics is not just mathematics. This seems trivial, but poses difficult and interesting questions. In this paper we analyse a particular discrepancy between non-relativistic quantum mechanics and ‘classical’ space and time. We also suggest, but not discuss, the case of the relativistic QM. In this work, we are more concerned with the notion of space and its mathematical representation. The mathematics entails that any two spatially separated objects are necessarily different, which implies that they are discernible —we say that the (...) space is T2, or “Hausdorff”, or yet “separable”. But when enters QM, sometimes the systems need to be taken as completely indistinguishable, so that there is no way to tell which system is which, and this holds even in the case of fermions. But in the NST setting, it seems that we can always give an identity to them by means of their individuation, which seems to be contra the quantum physical situation, where individuation does not entail identity. Here we discuss this topic by considering a case study and conclude that, taking into account the quantum case, that is, when physics enter the discussion, even NST cannot be used to say that the systems do have identity. This case study seems to be relevant for a more detailed discussion on the interplay between physical theories and their underlying mathematics, in a simple way apparently never realized before. (shrink)
The ‘ontic’ form of structural realism , roughly speaking, admits a complete elimination of the objects in the discourse of scientific theories, leaving us with structures only. As put by the defenders of such a claim, the idea is that all there is are structures and, if the relevant structures are to be set-theoretical constructs , as it has also been claimed, then the relations which appear in such structures should be taken to be ‘relations without the relata’. As far (...) as we know, there is not a definition of structure in standard mathematics which fits their intuitions, and even category theory seems not to correspond adequately the OSR claims. Since OSR is also linked with the semantic approach to theories, the structures to be dealt with are taken to be set-theoretical constructs. But these are ‘relational’ structures where the involved relations are built from basic objects , and so no complete elimination of the relata is possible, although it would be adequate for characterizing OSR. In this paper we present a definition of a kind of relation that does not depend on the particular objects being related in the sense that the ‘relation’ continues to hold even if the relata are exchanged by suitable objects. Although there is not a ‘complete’ elimination of relata, our definition might be viewed as an alternative way of finding adequate mathematical ‘set-theoretical’ frameworks for describing at least some of the intuitions regarding OSR within a ‘set-theoretical’ framework. (shrink)
There is growing evidence that a sense of meaning in life may emerge, in part, from the social relationships that people maintain. But it is not clear how the relationship between social ties and a sense of meaning might arise. The purpose of this study is to see if meaning in life is associated with three socially focused virtues: compassion, forgiveness of others, and providing social support to others. In the process, an effort is made to see if these social (...) virtues arise from social relationships in religious institutions. Two main findings emerge from a recent nationwide survey. First, people who are more compassionate, more forgiving, and who help others more often have a stronger sense of meaning in life. Second, individuals who receive more spiritual support from fellow church members are more likely to adopt these social virtues. The theoretical basis of these relationships is discussed. (shrink)
The number of people without rights of residence or work in the territory of Western Europe's nation states is growing. In official representations of political life this group is commonly 'symbolically eliminated' or taken up by an increasingly hostile discourse on 'illegal immigrants' and 'international terrorism'. This article explores what a rereading of the work of Hannah Arendt can contribute to the analytical task of giving an alternative meaning to the presence of this group. Arendt opens up new ways of (...) thinking and acting in view of the present situation. She shows us the rightless migrant as subject to a very specific form of domination - total domination. With Arendt we can see the migrant also as an emblematic philosophical figure, whose status exposes the contradiction of state-centred citizenship and the discourse of human rights. Lastly, the migrant comes into view as a potential political actor; protests by sans papiers become visible as sites of active citizenship. (shrink)
Our aim in this paper is to take quite seriously Heinz Post’s claim that the non-individuality and the indiscernibility of quantum objects should be introduced right at the start, and not made a posteriori by introducing symmetry conditions. Using a different mathematical framework, namely, quasi-set theory, we avoid working within a label-tensor-product-vector-space-formalism, to use Redhead and Teller’s words, and get a more intuitive way of dealing with the formalism of quantum mechanics, although the underlying logic should be modified. We build (...) a vector space with inner product, the Q-space, using the non-classical part of quasi-set theory, to deal with indistinguishable elements. Vectors in Q-space refer only to occupation numbers and permutation operators act as the identity operator on them, reflecting in the formalism the fact of unobservability of permutations. Thus, this paper can be regarded as a tentative to follow and enlarge Heinsenberg’s suggestion that new phenomena require the formation of a new “closed” (that is, axiomatic) theory, coping also with the physical theory’s underlying logic and mathematics. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss two approaches to the axiomatization of scientific theories in the context of the so called semantic approach, according to which (roughly) a theory can be seen as a class of models. The two approaches are associated respectively to Suppes’ and to da Costa and Chuaqui’s works. We argue that theories can be developed both in a way more akin to the usual mathematical practice (Suppes), in an informal set theoretical environment, writing the set theoretical predicate (...) in the language of set theory itself or, more rigorously (da Costa and Chuaqui), by employing formal languages that help us in writing the postulates to define a class of structures. Both approaches are called internal , for we work within a mathematical framework, here taken to be first-order ZFC. We contrast these approaches with an external one, here discussed briefly. We argue that each one has its strong and weak points, whose discussion is relevant for the philosophical foundations of science. (shrink)
El artículo analiza el rol que cumple la confianza en la construcción de la realidad social, argumentando que constituye uno de sus componentes esenciales. Lo es porque hace posible el nacimiento, permanencia y reconocimiento colectivo de las instituciones, así como su iteración y organización en subsistemas.
In this paper we try to justify our way of looking for an alternative approach to quantum mechanics, which is based on a non-classical logic. We consider two specific questions related to quantum theory, namely, entanglement and the indiscernibility of quanta. We characterize individuals, and then explain in what sense entanglement is a concept which can be applied to individuals in a restricted sense only. Then, we turn to indiscernibility and, after realizing that this concept is of a fundamental importance, (...) we mention the ‘traditional’ theory of identity of standard logic and mathematics, which underly the basic formalism of quantum theory. Then we propose to call the Problem of Identity the question whether identity of objects can be justified, and under what conditions. As in the Hume’s celebrated Problem of Induction, we conclude that the attribution of transtemporal identity to an object has no logic justification, and must be considered as a metaphysical hypothesis. Numerical identity is also put aside for similar reasons. Then we guess that identity is just an useful concept, but which in certain fields, mainly in the quantum realm, could be substituted by a weaker concept of indiscernibility. This assumption motivates us to look for an interpretation of quantum mechanics based on a non-classical logic, termed non-reflexive, and the corresponding mechanics is called non-reflexive quantum mechanics. (shrink)
We discuss the idea that superpositions in quantum mechanics may involve contradictions or contradictory properties. A state of superposition such as the one comprised in the famous Schrödinger’s cat, for instance, is sometimes said to attribute contradictory properties to the cat: being dead and alive at the same time. If that were the case, we would be facing a revolution in logic and science, since we would have one of our greatest scientific achievements showing that real contradictions exist.We analyze that (...) claim by employing the traditional square of opposition.We suggest that it is difficult to make sense of the idea of contradiction in the case of quantum superpositions. From a metaphysical point of view the suggestion also faces obstacles, and we present some of them. (shrink)
In this paper we consider the phenomenon of superpositions in quantum mechanics and suggest a way to deal with the idea in a logical setting from a syntactical point of view, that is, as subsumed in the language of the formalism, and not semantically. We restrict the discussion to the propositional level only. Then, after presenting the motivations and a possible world semantics, the formalism is outlined and we also consider within this schema the claim that superpositions may involve contradictions, (...) as in the case of the Schrödinger's cat, which is both alive and dead. We argue that this claim is a misreading of the quantum case. Finally, we sketch a new form of quantum logic that involves three kinds of negations and present the relationships among them. The paper is a first approach to the subject, introducing some main guidelines to be developed by a `syntactical' logical approach to quantum superpositions. (shrink)
This article aims to contribute to a critical ontology of social objects. Recent works on collective intentionality and norm-following neglect the question how free agents can be brought to collectively intend to x , although x is not in their own interest. By arguing for a natural disposition to empathic understanding and drawing on recent research in the neurosciences, this article outlines an ontological framework that extends collective intentionality to questions of oppression and status asymmetries. In a contribution to this (...) journal, Wisnewski (2005) unfortunately mischaracterizes the problem of meaning in social criticism. Implementing status problems in studies of collective intentions and construing social facts as both subjective and objective in character helps explain why agents can have persistent "misunderstandings" of social objects. (shrink)
Sortal predicates have been associated with a counting process, which acts as a criterion of identity for the individuals they correctly apply to. We discuss in what sense certain types of predicates suggested by quantum physics deserve the title of 'sortal' as well, although they do not characterize either a process of counting or a criterion of identity for the entities that fall under them. We call such predicates 'quantum-sortal predicates' and, instead of a process of counting, to them is (...) associated a 'criterion of cardinality'. After their general characterization, it is discussed how these predicates can be formally described. (shrink)
In this paper we consider the notions of structure and models within the semantic approach to theories. To highlight the role of the mathematics used to build the structures which will be taken as the models of theories, we review the notion of mathematical structure and of the models of scientific theories. Then, we analyse a case-study and argue that if a certain metaphysical view of quantum objects is adopted, one seeing them as non-individuals, then there would be strong reasons (...) to ask for a different mathematical framework for describing the structures that would be the models of the corresponding theory. In departing from the standard frameworks (those worked on within standard mathematics), we hope to bring to the scene, within the scope of the semantic approach, the importance of paying attention to some fundamental concepts usually only superficially touched by philosophers of science (if touched). (shrink)
Previous research has indicated older adults value listening to music as a leisure activity. Yet, recent research into listening practices broadly has often focused on younger adults and the use of newer, digital listening technologies. Nonetheless, the radio, which is familiar to older people who grew up with it at the forefront of family life, is important to consider with regard to listening practices and the potential associated well-being benefits. This research investigated older adults’ everyday radio listening practices, in order (...) to begin to understand how the radio fits into their daily lives and how it might influence their sense of well-being. Twenty-five Australian residents participated in semi-structured, one-to-one interviews. The results of a qualitative thematic analysis revealed themes concerning listening preferences, listening routines, access, and motivations/outcomes. While personal preferences were diverse, individuals clearly communicated these as well as their established listening routines and habits. Listener motivations varied: some people focused on the enjoyment that listening to the radio creates while some noted benefits to their well-being, such as relaxation, modifying their mood, and feelings of comfort and community. Radio listening practices can be defined in terms of differing engagement styles, as characterized using continua ranging from passive to active, or focused, listening as well as generalized or specific listening. Based on participants’ experiences, a proposed engagement space model links how people engage with the radio to the possible outcomes mentioned. Importantly, benefits to well-being can result from varied engagement styles. The findings presented provide an in-depth understanding of how the radio fits into older adults’ everyday life, with implications for considering how the radio might be used as a widely accessed, low-cost tool for maintaining and enhancing quality of later life. (shrink)
Hegselmann and Krause have developed a simple yet powerful computational model for studying the opinion dynamics in societies of epistemically interacting truth-seeking agents. We present various extensions of this model and show their relevance to the investigation of socio-epistemic questions, with an emphasis on normative questions.
Quasi-set theory has been proposed as a means of handling collections of indiscernible objects. Although the most direct application of the theory is quantum physics, it can be seen per se as a non-classical logic (a non-reflexive logic). In this paper we revise and correct some aspects of quasi-set theory as presented in , so as to avoid some misunderstandings and possible misinterpretations about the results achieved by the theory. Some further ideas with regard to quantum field theory are also (...) advanced in this paper. (shrink)
We show that Stoffregen & Bardy's arguments against the assumption of separately functioning senses have more historical antecedents than they give credit for, and that multimodal functioning does not require this assumption. What is needed is evidence that biological organisms are indeed detecting and acting upon information in a multimodal (or global) array.