Counting the Particles: Entity and Identity in the Philosophy of Physics

Francesco Berto 1
  • 1 Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC), University of Amsterdam, 1012 GC Amsterdam, Netherlands
Francesco Berto

Abstract

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 (. Identity in Physics: A Historical, Philosophical, and Formal Analysis. Oxford: Oxford UP: 105). I introduce the Received View in . In 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 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 I add some considerations on the primitiveness of identity or unity and the status of the Identity of Indiscernibles. In I address the problem of how reference to indiscernible objects with identity can be achieved.

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