Scientific article
Open access

How many properties of spin does a particle have?

Published inStudies in history and philosophy of science, vol. 90, p. 111-121
Publication date2021-12

A common assumption in non-relativistic quantum mechanics is that self-adjoint operators mathematically represent properties of quantum systems. Focusing on spin, we argue that a natural view considers observables as determinable properties and their eigenvalues as their corresponding determinates. We provide a taxonomy of the different views that one can hold, once it is accepted that spin can be modelled with the determinable-determinate relation. In particular, we present the two main families of views, dubbed Spin Monism and Pluralism, and we show that the current literature does not take a stance between the two. Then we put forward two arguments in favour of the former. Finally, we present a new account of Spin Monism, that is absent in current literature; such a view is worth discussing, or so we contend, because several compelling considerations support it, and it opens new ways of thinking about the ontology of quantum mechanics.

  • Determinable-determinate properties
  • Naturalised metaphysics
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Spin
  • Superposition
Citation (ISO format)
CORTI, Alberto, SANCHIONI, Marco. How many properties of spin does a particle have? In: Studies in history and philosophy of science, 2021, vol. 90, p. 111–121. doi: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2021.09.004
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0039-3681

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