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Weak Discernibility For Quanta, The Right Way

Huggett, Nick and Norton, Joshua (2013) Weak Discernibility For Quanta, The Right Way. [Preprint]


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Muller and Saunders purport to demonstrate that, surprisingly, bosons and fermions are discernible; this paper disputes their arguments, then derives a similar conclusion in a more satisfactory fashion. After briefly explicating their proof, and indicating how it escapes earlier indiscernibility results, we note that the observables which Muller and Saunders argue discern particles are (i) non-symmetric in the case of bosons and (ii) trivial multiples of the identity in the case of fermions. Both problems undermine the claim that they have shown particles to be physically discernible. We then prove two results concerning observables that truly are physical: one showing when particles are discernible and one showing when they are not (categorically) discernible. Along the way we clarify some frequently misunderstood issues concerning the interpretation of quantum observables.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: Identical particles, Leibniz, the principle of the identity of indiscernibles, quantum mechanics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Mr Joshua Norton
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2013 13:28
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2013 13:28
Item ID: 9616
DOI or Unique Handle:
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 11 March 2013

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