, Volume 78, Issue 5, pp 1133–1142

On Witness-Discernibility of Elementary Particles


  • Øystein Linnebo
    • Department of Philosophy
    • Faculty of PhilosophyErasmus University Rotterdam
    • Department of Physics & AstronomyUtrecht University
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10670-012-9385-4

Cite this article as:
Linnebo, Ø. & Muller, F.A. Erkenn (2013) 78: 1133. doi:10.1007/s10670-012-9385-4


In the context of discussions about the nature of ‘identical particles’ and the status of Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles in Quantum Mechanics, a novel kind of physical discernibility has recently been proposed, which we call witness-discernibility. We inquire into how witness-discernibility relates to known kinds of discernibility. Our conclusion will be that for a wide variety of cases, including the intended quantum-mechanical ones, witness-discernibility collapses extensionally to absolute discernibility, that is, to discernibility by properties.


Elementary particlesQuantum mechanicsDiscernibilityLeibniz’s principleIdentity

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012