Original Article


, Volume 78, Issue 5, pp 1133-1142

First online:

On Witness-Discernibility of Elementary Particles

  • Øystein LinneboAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy
  • , F. A. MullerAffiliated withFaculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University RotterdamDepartment of Physics & Astronomy, Utrecht University Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


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 particles Quantum mechanics Discernibility Leibniz’s principle Identity