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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
    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 12:07
    Last Modified: 19 Oct 2012 12:07
    Item ID: 9377
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9377

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