Counting the Particles : Entity and Identity in the Philosophy of Physics
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I would like to attack a certain view: The view that the concept of identity can fail to apply to some things although, for some positive integer n, we have n of them. The idea of entities without self-identity is seriously entertained in the philosophy of quantum mechanics (QM). It is so pervasive that it has been labelled the Received View (French and Krause 2006. Identity in Physics: A Historical, Philosophical, and Formal Analysis. Oxford: Oxford UP: 105). I introduce the Received View in Section 1. In Section 2 I explain what I mean by entity (synonymously, by object and thing), and I argue that supporters of the Received View should agree with my characterization of the corresponding notion of entity (object, thing). I also explain what I mean by identity, and I show that supporters of the Received View agree with my characterization of that notion. In Section 3 I argue that the concept of identity, so characterized, is one with the concept of oneness. Thus, it cannot but apply to what belongs to a collection with n elements, n being a positive integer. In Section 4 I add some considerations on the primitiveness of identity or unity and the status of the Identity of Indiscernibles. In Section 5 I address the problem of how reference to indiscernible objects with identity can be achieved.
Berto , F 2017 , ' Counting the Particles : Entity and Identity in the Philosophy of Physics ' , Metaphysica , vol. 18 , no. 1 , pp. 69-89 . https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2017-0001
© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the final published version of the work, which was originally published at: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2017-0001.
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