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Open AccessArticle

Identical Quantum Particles, Entanglement, and Individuality

History and Philosophy of Science, Utrecht University, Princetonplein 5, 3584 CC Utrecht, The Netherlands
Entropy 2020, 22(2), 134;
Received: 2 December 2019 / Revised: 6 January 2020 / Accepted: 12 January 2020 / Published: 23 January 2020
Particles in classical physics are distinguishable objects, which can be picked out individually on the basis of their unique physical properties. By contrast, in the philosophy of physics, the standard view is that particles of the same kind (“identical particles”) are completely indistinguishable from each other and lack identity. This standard view is problematic: Particle indistinguishability is irreconcilable not only with the very meaning of “particle” in ordinary language and in classical physical theory, but also with how this term is actually used in the practice of present-day physics. Moreover, the indistinguishability doctrine prevents a smooth transition from quantum particles to what we normally understand by “particles” in the classical limit of quantum mechanics. Elaborating on earlier work, we here analyze the premises of the standard view and discuss an alternative that avoids these and similar problems. As it turns out, this alternative approach connects to recent discussions in quantum information theory. View Full-Text
Keywords: identical quantum particles; indistinguishability; the concept of a particle; emergence; entanglement identical quantum particles; indistinguishability; the concept of a particle; emergence; entanglement
MDPI and ACS Style

Dieks, D. Identical Quantum Particles, Entanglement, and Individuality. Entropy 2020, 22, 134.

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