Foundations of Physics

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 951–957 | Cite as

Is Indistinguishability in Quantum Mechanics Conventional?

  • Paul Teller
  • Michael Redhead


Darrin Belousek has argued that the indistinguishability of quantum particles is conventional “in the Duhemian–Einsteinian sense,” in part by critially examining prior arguments given by Redhead and Teller. Belousek's discussion provides a useful occasion to clarify some of those arguments, acknowledge respects in which they were misleading, and comment on how they can be strengthened. We also comment briefly on the relevant sense of “conventional.”


Quantum Mechanics Quantum Particle Relevant Sense Prior Argument 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    D. Belousek, “Statistics, symmetry, and the conventionality of indistinguishability in quantum mechanics,” Found.Phys. 30, 1 (2000).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    M. Redhead and P. Teller, “Particles, particle labels, and quanta: The toll of unacknowledged metaphysics,” Found.Phys. 21, 43–62 (1991).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    M. Redhead and P. Teller, “Particle-labels and the theory of indistinguishable particles in quantum mechanics,” Brit.J.Phil.Sci. 43, 201–218 (1992).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    P. Teller, An Interpretive Introduction to Quantum Field Theory (Princeton University Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    S. French and M. Redhead, “Quantum physics and the identity of indiscernibles,” Brit.J.Phil.Sci. 39, 233–246 (1988).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    B. van Fraassen, Quantum Mechanics: An Empiricist View (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1991).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. Cushing, Quantum Mechanics: Historical Contingency and the Copenhagen Hegemony (University of Chicago Press, 1994).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Teller
    • 1
  • Michael Redhead
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of California at DavisDavis
  2. 2.Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social ScienceLondon School of EconomicsLondonUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations