Qualitative individuation in permutation-invariant quantum mechanics

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Caulton, Adam
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In this article I expound an understanding of the quantum mechanics of so-called “indistinguishable” systems in which permutation invariance is taken as a symmetry of a special kind, namely the result of representational redundancy. This understand- ing has heterodox consequences for the understanding of the states of constituent systems in an assembly and for the notion of entanglement. It corrects widespread misconceptions about the inter-theoretic relations between quantum mechanics and both classical particle mechanics and quantum field theory. The most striking of the heterodox consequences are: (i) that fermionic states ought not always to be considered entangled; (ii) it is possible for two fermions or two bosons to be discerned using purely monadic quantities; and that (iii) fermions (but not bosons) may always be so discerned.