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Discerning "indistinguishable" quantum systems

Caulton, Adam (2012) Discerning "indistinguishable" quantum systems. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In a series of recent papers, Simon Saunders, Fred Muller and Michael Seevinck have collectively argued, against the folklore, that some non-trivial version of Leibniz's principle of the identity of indiscernibles is upheld in quantum mechanics. They argue that all particles---fermions, paraparticles, anyons, even bosons---may be weakly discerned by some physical relation. Here I show that their arguments make illegitimate appeal to non-symmetric, i.e.~permutation-non-invariant, quantities, and that therefore their conclusions do not go through. However, I show that alternative, symmetric quantities may be found to do the required work. I conclude that the Saunders-Muller-Seevinck heterodoxy can be saved after all.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Caulton, Adamadam.caulton@gmail.com
Additional Information: This is a draft of an article due to appear in the journal Philosophy of Science.
Keywords: quantum, discernibility, discernment, permutations, PII, Leibniz, Saunders, Muller, Seevinck.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr Adam Caulton
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2012 18:12
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2012 18:12
Item ID: 9477
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 2012
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9477

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