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Are All Particles Real?

Goldstein, Sheldon and Taylor, James and Tumulka, Roderich and Zanghi, Nino (2004) Are All Particles Real? [Preprint]


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In Bohmian mechanics elementary particles exist objectively, as point particles moving according to a law determined by a wavefunction. In this context, questions as to whether the particles of a certain species are real---questions such as, Do photons exist? Electrons? Or just the quarks?---have a clear meaning. We explain that, whatever the answer, there is a corresponding Bohm-type theory, and no experiment can ever decide between these theories. Another question that has a clear meaning is whether particles are intrinsically distinguishable, i.e., whether particle world lines have labels indicating the species. We discuss the intriguing possibility that the answer is no, and particles are points---just points.

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Item Type: Preprint
Goldstein, Sheldon
Taylor, James
Tumulka, Roderich
Zanghi, Nino
Keywords: Bohmian mechanics, ontology, empirical equivalence, fundamental limitations of science, particle trajectories in quantum physics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Roderich Tumulka
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2004
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:12
Item ID: 1728

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