Plato taught something along these lines: every "real" chair is merely an "imprint" of (or an imperfect approximation to) a single "ideal" chair. Similarly for tables, glasses and certainly for the wine in the glass!

As things turned out, when it came to elementary particles
Plato didn't go quite far enough. When physicists talk of
"* The* electron..." or "* The* neutron..."
they are not referring to one particular electron or neutron;
they are expressing their (experimentally verified) belief
that * every electron is exactly
identical* to every other electron!
Not just very similar, but * indistinguishable even in
principle*. That is, every electron is a * perfect*
"imprint" of the "ideal" electron - it * is*, in fact,
the ideal electron! This is true of * all* elementary
particles, and in ** quantum field theory** reaches its
ultimate expression: the

Jess H. Brewer - Last modified: Mon Nov 23 13:58:11 PST 2015