Bohm's approach and individuality

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Pylkkänen , P , Hiley , B & Pättiniemi , I 2016 , Bohm's approach and individuality . in A Guay & T Pradeu (eds) , Individuals Across Sciences: A Revisionary Metaphysics? . vol. 2016 , Oxford University Press , New York .

Title: Bohm's approach and individuality
Author: Pylkkänen, Paavo; Hiley, Basil; Pättiniemi, Ilkka
Editor: Guay, A.; Pradeu, T.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies 2010-2017
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date: 2016
Language: eng
Number of pages: 28
Belongs to series: Individuals Across Sciences: A Revisionary Metaphysics?
ISBN: 978-0-19-938251-4
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/159384
Abstract: Ladyman and Ross (LR) 2007 argue that quantum objects are not individuals (or are at most weakly discernible individuals) and use this idea to ground their metaphysical view, ontic structural realism, according to which relational structures are primary to things. LR acknowledge that there is a version of quantum theory, namely the Bohm theory (BT), according to which particles do have definite trajectories at all times (Bohm 1952; Bohm and Hiley 1993). This would suggest that quantum particles are individuals after all, with position being the property in virtue of which particles are always different from one another. However, LR refer to research by Brown et al. (1996) which they interpret as saying that in BT, the properties normally associated with particles (mass, charge, etc.) are inherent only in the quantum field and not in the particles (in BT it is assumed that a particle is always accompanied by a quantum field). It would then seem that there is nothing there in the trajectories unless one assumes the existence of some “raw stuff” of the particle. In other words it seems that haecceities are needed for the individuality of particles of BT, and LR dismiss this as idle metaphysics. In this paper we point out, following Brown et al.(1996, 1999) that it is reasonable to assume that in BT properties such as mass and charge also reside in the particles (the principle of generosity). Thus, if BT is correct, quantum objects might be individuals after all. However, we move on to emphasize that Bohmian quantum individuals, while in some ways similar to classical particles, also differ from these radically. We will discuss this issue in the light of new developments in the underlying mathematical structures, due to de Gosson and Hiley. In particular, we will show how the mathematical structure of the double cover of the underlying symmetry groups help to understand the relation between classical dynamics and quantum dynamics, as well as the similarities and differences between classical and quantum individuals. We conclude that while BT enables us to retain the notion of individuals in non-relativistic quantum theory, these individuals are very different from those of classical physics. It is likely that they can be best understood in the context of a structuralist, process-oriented view, such as Bohm and Hiley’s broader implicate order framework. Thus, while we think that the prospects of individuality in quantum theory are stronger than what LR imply, we agree with them that structuralist considerations are important in fundamental physics more generally.
Subject: 6162 Cognitive science
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