Quantum Physics and the Identity of Indiscernibles
French (Steven) & Redhead (Michael)
Source: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, June 1988; 233-246
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Philosophers Index Abstract

    This paper is concerned with the question of whether atomic particles of the same species, i.e., with the same intrinsic state-independent properties of mass, spin, electric charge, etc, violate the Leibnizian Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles1, in the sense that, while there is more than one of them, their state-dependent properties may also all be the same. The answer depends on what exactly the state-dependent properties of atomic particles are taken to be. On the plausible interpretation that these should comprise all monadic and relational properties that can be expressed in terms of physical magnitudes associated with self-adjoint operators that can be defined for the individual particles, then the weakest form of the Principle is shown to be violated for bosons, fermions and higher-order paraparticles, treated in first quantization.

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