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Identity, Superselection Theory and the Statistical Properties of Quantum Fields

Baker, David John (2012) Identity, Superselection Theory and the Statistical Properties of Quantum Fields. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The permutation symmetry of quantum mechanics is widely thought to imply a sort of metaphysical underdetermination about the identity of particles. Despite claims to the contrary, this implication does not hold in the more fundamental quantum field theory, where an ontology of particles is not generally available. Although permutations are often defined as acting on particles, a more general account of permutation symmetry can be formulated using superselection theory. As a result, permutation symmetry applies even in field theories with no particle interpretation. The quantum mechanical account of permutations acting on particles is recovered as a special case.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
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Baker, David John
Additional Information: Forthcoming in PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: David Baker
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2012 16:07
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2012 16:07
Item ID: 9377
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9377

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