Are there quantum objects? What are they if they are neither given nor resemble anything familiar? To answer these questions we have to abstract from the substantive features of familiar things, delineate the pure logical forms by which we acknowledge objects and show how the forms are fulfilled in quantum theories. We have to explicate, in general terms and without resorting to the given, what we mean by objects. The clear criteria will enable us to affirm the objectivity of quantum theories.Auyang 1995, p. 5
Cantor, famously, defined a set as ‘… collections into a whole of definite, distinct objects of our intuition or of our thought’ (Cantor 1955, p. 85, our emphasis). On this basis the standard formulations of set theory, and consequently much of contemporary mathematics, are erected. Reflecting upon this definition, and the underlying ontological presuppositions, the question immediately arises, how are we to treat, mathematically, collections of objects which are not distinct individuals? This question becomes particularly acute in the quantum mechanical context, of course. As Yu. I. Manin noted at the 1974 American Mathematical Society Congress on the Hilbert Problems,
We should consider possibilities of developing a totally new language to speak about infinity [that is, axioms for set theory]. Classical critics of Cantor (Brouwer et al.) argue that, say, the general choice is an illicit extrapolation of the finite case.