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Countability and Self-Identity

Heathcote, Adrian (2021) Countability and Self-Identity. [Preprint]

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The Received View of particles in quantum mechanics is that they are indistinguishable entities within their kinds and that, as a consequence, they are not individuals in the metaphysical sense and self-identity does not meaningfully apply to them. Nevertheless cardinality does apply, in that one can have n > 1 such particles. A number of authors have recently argued that this cluster of claims is internally contradictory: roughly, that having more than one such particle requires that the concepts of distinctness and identity must apply after all. A common thread here is that the notion of identity is too fundamental to forego in any metaphysical account. I argue that this argument fails. I then argue that the failure of individuality and identity applies also to macroscopic physical objects, that the problems cannot be constrained to apply only within the microscopic realm.

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Item Type: Preprint
Additional Information: Preprint of article forthcoming in the European Journal for Philosophy of Science.
Keywords: Indistinguishability; Quantum Mechanics; Identity; Weyl
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Dr Adrian Heathcote
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2021 01:29
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2021 01:29
Item ID: 19691
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 5 October 2021

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