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Discerning Elementary Particles

Muller, F.A. and Seevinck, M.P. (2009) Discerning Elementary Particles. [Preprint]


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We extend the quantum-mechanical results of Muller & Saunders (2008) establishing the weak discernibility of an arbitrary number of similar fermions in finite-dimensional Hilbert-spaces in two ways: (a) from fermions to bosons for all finite-dimensional Hilbert-spaces; and (b) from finite-dimensional to infinite-dimensional Hilbert-spaces for all elementary particles. In both cases this is performed using operators whose physical significance is beyond doubt.This confutes the currently dominant view that (A) the quantum-mechanical description of similar particles conflicts with Leibniz's Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII); and that (B) the only way to save PII is by adopting some pre-Kantian metaphysical notion such as Scotusian haecceittas or Adamsian primitive thisness. We take sides with Muller & Saunders (2008) against this currently dominant view, which has been expounded and defended by, among others, Schr\"odinger, Margenau, Cortes, Dalla Chiara, Di Francia, Redhead, French, Teller, Butterfield, Mittelstaedt, Giuntini, Castellani, Krause and Huggett.

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Item Type: Preprint
Muller, F.A.
Seevinck, M.P.
Additional Information: To appear in Philosophy of Science.
Keywords: quantum, identity, indiscernibles, elementary, particles, bosons, fermions, Leibniz, similar, particles, discernibility
Subjects: General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Dr. Michael Patrick Seevinck
Date Deposited: 21 May 2009
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:18
Item ID: 4642

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