Quantum Objects are Vague Objects
French (Steven) & Krause (Décio)
Source: Sorites 6, August 1996: 21-33
Paper - Abstract

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Authors’ Abstract

  1. Is there vagueness in the world? This is the central question that we are concerned with. Focusing on identity statements around which much of the recent debate has centred, we argue that 'vague identity1' arises in quantum mechanics2 in one of two ways.
    1. First, quantum particles may be described as individuals, with ‘entangled’ states understood in terms of non-supervenient relations. In this case, the vagueness is ontic but exists at the level of these relations which act as a kind of ‘veil’.
    2. Secondly, the particles can be regarded as non-individuals, where this is understood as a lack of self-identity and given formal expression in terms of quasi-set theory. Here we have ontic vagueness at perhaps the most basic metaphysical level.
  2. Our conclusion is that there is genuine vagueness ‘in the world’ but how it is understood depends on the metaphysical package adopted.


Filed electronically with full edition of Sorites 06

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