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Why non-individuality? A discussion on individuality, identity, and cardinality in the quantum context

Arenhart, Jonas R.B. and Krause, Décio (2012) Why non-individuality? A discussion on individuality, identity, and cardinality in the quantum context. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    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: i) every item is identical with itself and ii) 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 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 may not be viewed as endorsing an ontology of individuals.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: quantum mechanics; individuality; non-individuals; counting; identity; quasi-set theory.
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    Depositing User: Décio Krause
    Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2012 07:01
    Last Modified: 15 Mar 2012 07:01
    Item ID: 9052
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9052

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