According to the semantic view, a theory is characterized by a class of models. In this paper, we examine critically some of the assumptions that underlie this approach. First, we recall that models are models of something. Thus we cannot leave completely aside the axiomatization of the theories under consideration, nor can we ignore the metamathematics used to elaborate these models, for changes in the metamathematics often impose restrictions on the resulting models. Second, based on a parallel between van Fraassen’s (...) modal interpretation of quantum mechanics and Skolem’s relativism regarding set-theoretic concepts, we introduce a distinction between relative and absolute concepts in the context of the models of a scientific theory. And we discuss the significance of that distinction. Finally, by focusing on contemporary particle physics, we raise the question: since there is no general accepted unification of the parts of the standard model (namely, QED and QCD), we have no theory, in the usual sense of the term. This poses a difficulty: if there is no theory, how can we speak of its models? What are the latter models of? We conclude by noting that it is unclear that the semantic view can be applied to contemporary physical theories. (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)
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)
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)
It has been suggested that quantum particles are genuinelyvague objects (Lowe 1994a). The present work explores thissuggestion in terms of the various metaphysical packages that areavailable for describing such particles. The formal frameworksunderpinning such packages are outlined and issues of identityand reference are considered from this overall perspective. Indoing so we hope to illuminate the diverse ways in whichvagueness can arise in the quantum context.
Following J.-Y.Béziau in his pioneer work on non-standard interpretations of the traditional square of opposition, we have applied the abstract structure of the square to study the relation of opposition between states in superposition in orthodox quantum mechanics in . Our conclusion was that such states are contraries, contradicting previous analyzes that have led to different results, such as those claiming that those states represent contradictory properties. In this chapter we bring the issue once again into the center of the (...) stage, but now discussing the metaphysical presuppositions which underlie each kind of analysis and which lead to each kind of result, discussing in particular the idea that superpositions represent potential contradictions. We shall argue that the analysis according to which states in superposition are contrary rather than contradictory is still more plausible. (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)
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)
We consider the claim by Dorato and Morganti 591–610) that primitive individuality should be attributed to the entities dealt with by non-relativistic quantum mechanics. There are two central ingredients in the proposal: in the case of non-relativistic quantum mechanics, individuality should be taken as a primitive notion and primitive individuality is naturalistically acceptable. We argue that, strictly understood, naturalism faces difficulties in helping to provide a theory with a unique principle of individuation. We also hold that even when taken in (...) a loose sense, naturalism does not provide any sense in which one could hold that quantum mechanics endorses primitive individuality over non-individuality. Rather, we argue that non-individuality should be preferred based on the grounds that such a view fits better the claims of the theory. (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.
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)
In this paper we discuss some questions proposed by Prof. Newton da Costa on the foundations of quasi-set theory. His main doubts concern the possibility of a reasonable semantical understanding of the theory, mainly due to the fact that identity and difference do not apply to some entities of the theory’s intended domain of discourse. According to him, the quantifiers employed in the theory, when understood in the usual way, rely on the assumption that identity applies to all entities in (...) the domain of discourse. Inspired by his provocation, we suggest that, using some ideas presented by da Costa himself in his seminars at UFSC and by one of us in some papers, these difficulties can be overcome both on a formal level and on an informal level, showing how quantification over items for which identity does not make sense can be understood without presupposing a semantics based on a ‘classical’ set theory. (shrink)
Lowe has recently argued that quantum particles offer examples of vague objects. While accepting the premise of the argument that such particles can be regarded as individuals, we point out that there is a lacuna here, to be filled by a detailed analysis of the nature of the entangled states which they enter into. We then elaborate the alternative view, according to which such particles should be regarded as non- individuals' and situate it in the context of recent developments of (...) a logic of non- individuality. Our conclusion is that it is here that one encounters genuine ontic vagueness. (shrink)
Recently, in the debate about the ontology of quantum mechanics some authors have defended the view that quantum particles are individuals in a primitive sense, so that individuality should be preferred over non-individuality (the alternative option). Primitive individuality involves two main claims: (1) every item is identical with itself and (2) it is distinct from every other item. Non-relativistic quantum mechanics is said to provide positive evidence for that position, since in every situation comprising multiple particles there is a well-defined (...) number of them to begin with, and so they must be distinct from each other. We argue that the link between a well-defined number of items and the relation of identity that is being claimed to hold is not imposed by quantum mechanics, but rather by a metaphysical view. Formal evidence is advanced in favor of the thesis that counting may be performed for items without identity (non-individuals), so that quantum mechanics needs not be viewed as endorsing an ontology of individuals. (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)
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)
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.
We investigate the higher-order modal logic , which is a variant of the system presented in our previous work. A semantics for that system, founded on the theory of quasi sets, is outlined. We show how such a semantics, motivated by the very intuitive base of Schrödinger logics, provides an alternative way to formalize some intensional concepts and features which have been used in recent discussions on the logical foundations of quantum mechanics; for example, that some terms like 'electron' have (...) no precise reference and that 'identical' particles cannot be named unambiguously. In the last section, we sketch a classical semantics for quasi set theory. (shrink)
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)
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)
In this paper we deal with two applications of the square of opposition to controversial issues in the philosophy of quantum mechanics. The first one concerns the kind of opposition represented by states in superposition. A superposition of “spin up” and “spin down” for a given spatial direction, for instance, is sometimes said to originate particular kinds of opposition such as contradictoriness. The second application concerns the problem of identical particles. Identity and indiscernibility are entangled in discussions of this problem (...) in such a way that a proper conceptual treatment of those issues through the square seems profitable. (shrink)
The literature on quantum logic emphasizes that the algebraic structures involved with orthodox quantum mechanics are non distributive. In this paper we develop a particular algebraic structure, the quasi-lattice (J-lattice), which can be modeled by an algebraic structure built in quasi-set theory Q. This structure is non distributive and involve indiscernible elements. Thus we show that in taking into account indiscernibility as a primitive concept, the quasi-lattice that 'naturally' arises is non distributive.
In this work, the first of a series, we study the nature of informal inconsistency in physics, focusing mainly on the foundations of quantum theory, and appealing to the concept of quasi-truth. We defend a pluralistic view of the philosophy of science, grounded on the existence of inconsistencies and on quasi-truth. Here, we treat only the ‘classical aspects’ of the subject, leaving for a forthcoming paper the ‘non-classical’ part.
In this work, we focus on a very specific case study: assuming that quantum theories deal with “particles” of some kind, what kind of entity can such particles be? One possible answer, the one we shall examine here, is that they are not the usual kind of object found in daily life: individuals. Rather, we follow a suggestion by Erwin Schrödinger, according to which quantum mechanics poses a revolutionary kind of entity: non-individuals. While physics, as a scientific field, is not (...) concerned with whether entities posited by a specific physical theory are individuals or not, answering this question is part of the quest for a better understanding of physical reality. Here lies, in large measure, the relevance of ontology. (shrink)
This paper is the sequel of a previous one where we have introduced a paraconsistent logic termed paraclassical logic to deal with 'complementary propositions'. Here, we enlarge upon the discussion by considering certain 'meaning principles', which sanction either some restrictions of 'classical' procedures or the utilization of certain 'classical' incompatible schemes in the domain of the physical theories. Here, the term 'classical' refers to classical physics. Some general comments on the logical basis of a scientific theory are also put in (...) between the text, motivated by the discussion of complementarity. (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)
The foundations of quantum mechanics are attracting new and significant interest in the scientific community due to the recent striking experimental and technical progress in the fields of quantum computation, quantum teleportation and quantum information processing. However, at a more fundamental level the understanding and manipulation of these novel phenomena require not only new laboratory techniques but also new understanding, development and interpretation of the formalism of quantum mechanics itself, a mathematical structure whose connection to what happens in physical reality (...) continues to present puzzles and engender debate.The present issue of Foundations of Physics considers, from physical, philosophical and logical perspectives, a range of problems: these range from the meaning of quantum identity and individuality, through probability and complementarity, to decoherence and gauge theories.The idea of preparing this special issue was conceived in connection with the Workshop .. (shrink)
In this paper we make some general remarks on the use of non-classical logics, in particular paraconsistent logic, in the foundational analysis of physical theories. As a case-study, we present a reconstruction of P.\ -D.\ F\'evrier's 'logic of complementarity' as a strict three-valued logic and also a paraconsistent version of it. At the end, we sketch our own approach to complementarity, which is based on a paraconsistent logic termed 'paraclassical logic'.
Inspired in Quine's well known slogans “To be is to be the value of a variable” and "No entity without identity", we provide a way of enabling that non-individual entities (as characterized in the text) can also be values of variables of an adequate "regimented" language, once we consider a possible meaning of the background theory Quine reports to ground his view. In doing that, we show that there may exist also entities without identity, and emphasize the importance of paying (...) attention to the metalanguage of scientific theories, for they may be also fundamental in determining the theory's ontological commitment. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine the concept of particle as it appears in quantum ﬁeld theories, focusing on a puzzling situation regarding this concept. Although quantum ‘particles’ arise from ﬁelds, which form the basic ontology of QFT, and thus a certain concept of ‘particle’ is al- ways available, the properties ascribed to such ‘particles’ are not completely in agreement with the mathematical and logical description of such ﬁelds, which should be taken as individuals.
We discuss some logico-mathematical systems which deviate from classical logic and mathematics with respect to the concept of identity. In the first part of the paper we present very general formulations of the principle of identity and show how they can be ‘relativized’ to objects and to properties. Then, as an application, we study the particular cases of physics and logic . In the last part of the paper, we discuss the alphabar logics, that is, those logical systems which violate (...) a formulation of one of the most fundamental versions of the principle of identity; in these logics, there are formulas which are not deducible from themselves. (shrink)
It is well known that in quantum mechanics we cannot always define consistently properties that are context independent. Many approaches exist to describe contextual properties, such as Contextuality by Default, sheaf theory, topos theory, and non-standard or signed probabilities. In this paper we propose a treatment of contextual properties that is specific to quantum mechanics, as it relies on the relationship between contextuality and indistinguishability. In particular, we propose that if we assume the ontological thesis that quantum particles or properties (...) can be indistinguishable yet different, no contradiction arising from a Kochen-Specker-type argument appears: when we repeat an experiment, we are in reality performing an experiment measuring a property that is indistinguishable from the first, but not the same. We will discuss how the consequences of this move may help us understand quantum contextuality. (shrink)
Despite the discrepancies between quantum objects and `classical' ones, mainly with regard to the fact that the latter may be thought of as `individuals', contrary to the former, we still regard the quanta as `things' in our ordinary discourse as well as in the logico-mathematical basis of quantum theories. This paper considers some possibilities for accomodating the logico-mathematical framework of the theories which deal with such a strange ontology where the inhabitants are things devoid of identity and both having and (...) not having certain properties.``All right'', said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. (shrink)
Some of the forerunners of quantum theory regarded the basic entities of such theories as 'non-individuals'. One of the problems is to treat collections of such 'things', for they do not obey the axioms of standard set theories like Zermelo- Fraenkel. In this paper, collections of objects to which the standard concept of identity does not apply are termed 'quasi-sets'. The motivation for such a theory, linked to what we call 'the Manin problem', is presented, so as its specific axioms. (...) At the end, it is shown how quantum statistics can be obtained within quasi-set thbeory. (shrink)
Nonreflexive quantum mechanics is a formulation of quantum theory based on a non- classical logic termed nonreflexive logic. In these logics, the standard notion of identity, as encapsulated in classical logic and set theories, does not hold in full. The basic aim of this kind of approach to quantum mechanics is to take seriously the claim made by some authors according to whom quantum particles are non-individuals in some sense, and also to take into account the fact that they may (...) be absolutely indistinguishable. The nonreflexive formulation of quantum theory assumes these features of the objects already at the level of the underlying logic, so that no use is required of symmetrization postulates or other mathematical devices that serve to pretend that the objects are indiscernible. Here, we present the ideas of the development of nonreflexive quantum mechanics and discuss some philosophical motivations and consequences of it. (shrink)
Is there vagueness in the world? This is the central question that we are concerned with. Focusing on identity statements around which much of the recent debate has centred, we argue that `vague identity' arises in quantum mechanics in one of two ways. First, quantum particles may be described as individuals, with `entangled' states understood in terms of non-supervenient relations. In this case, the vagueness is ontic but exists at the level of these relations which act as a kind of (...) `veil'. Secondly, the particles can be regarded as non-individuals, where this is understood as a lack of self-identity and given formal expression in terms of quasi-set theory. Here we have ontic vagueness at perhaps the most basic metaphysical level. Our conclusion is that there is genuine vagueness `in the world' but how it is understood depends on the metaphysical package adopted. (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 paper is a continuation of the authors' attempts to deal with the notion of indistinguishability (or indiscernibility) from a logical point of view. Now we introduce a two-sorted first-order modal logic to enable us to deal with objects of two different species. The intended interpretation is that objects of one of the species obey the rules of standard S5, while the objects of the other species obey only the rules of a weaker notion of indiscernibility. Quantum mechanics motivates the (...) development. The basic idea is that in the ‘actual’ world things may be indiscernible but in another accessible world they may be distinguished in some way. That is, indistinguishability needs not be seen as a necessary relation. Contrariwise, things might be distinguished in the ‘actual’ world, but they may be indiscernible in another world. So, while two quantum systems may be entangled in the actual world, in some accessible world, due to a measurement, they can be discerned, and on the other hand, two initially separated quantum systems may enter in a state of superposition, losing their individualities. Two semantics are sketched for our system. The first is constructed within a standard set theory (the ZFC system is assumed at the metamathematics). The second one is constructed within the theory of quasi-sets, which we believe suits better the purposes of our logic and the mathematical treatment of certain situations in quantum mechanics. Some further philosophically related topics are considered. (shrink)
In this first paper of a series of works on the foundations of science, we examine the significance of logical and mathematical frameworks used in foundational studies. In particular, we emphasize the distinction between the order of a language and the order of a structure to prevent confusing models of scientific theories with first-order structures, and which are studied in standard model theory. All of us are, of course, bound to make abuses of language even in putatively precise contexts. This (...) is not a problem—in fact, it is part of scientific and philosophical practice. But it is important to be sensitive to the dierent uses that structure, model, and language have. In this paper, we examine these topics in the context of classical logic; only in the last section we touch upon briefly on non-classical ones. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that physical theories, including quantum mechanics, refer to some kind of ‘objects’, even if only implicitly. We raise questions about the logico-mathematical apparatuses commonly employed in such theories, bringing to light some metaphysical presuppositions underlying such apparatuses. We point out to some incongruities in the discourse holding that quantum objects would be entities of some ‘new kind’ while still adhering to the logico-mathematical framework we use to deal with classical objects. The use of such apparatus (...) would hinder us from being in complete agreement with the ontological novelties the theories of quanta seem to advance. Thus, we join those who try to investigate a ‘logic of quantum mechanics’, but from a different point of view: looking for a formal foundation for a supposed new ontology. As a consequence of this move, we can revisit Einstein’s ideas on physical reality and propose that, by considering a new kind of object traditionally termed ‘non-individuals’, it is possible to sustain that they still obey some of Einstein’s conditions for ‘physical realities’, so that it will be possible to talk of a ‘principle of separability’ in a sense which is not in complete disagreement with quantum mechanics. So, Einstein’s departure from quantum mechanics might be softened at least concerning a form of his realism, which sees separated physical objects as distinct ‘physical realities’. (shrink)
Schrödinger logics are logical systems in which the principle of identity is not true in general. The intuitive motivation for these logics is both Erwin Schrödinger's thesis (which has been advanced by other authors) that identity lacks sense for elementary particles of modern physics, and the way which physicists deal with this concept; normally, they understandidentity as meaningindistinguishability (agreemment with respect to attributes). Observing that these concepts are equivalent in classical logic and mathematics, which underly the usual physical theories, we (...) present a higher-order logical system in which these concepts are systematically separated. A classical semantics for the system is presented and some philosophical related questions are mentioned. One of the main characteristics of our system is that Leibniz' Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles cannot be derived. This fact is in accordance with some authors who maintain that quantum mechanics violates this principle. Furthermore, our system may be viewed as a way of making sense some of Schrödinger's logical intuitions about the nature of elementary particles. (shrink)