The Identity of Indiscernibles
Forrest (Peter)
Source: Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 1996-2010
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

The Identity of Indiscernibles1 is a principle of analytic ontology first explicitly formulated by Wilhelm Gottfried Leibniz in his Discourse on Metaphysics, Section 9 (Loemker 1969: 308). It states that no two distinct things exactly resemble each other. This is often referred to as ‘Leibniz's Law’2 and is typically understood to mean that no two objects have exactly the same properties. The Identity of Indiscernibles3 is of interest because it raises questions about the factors which individuate qualitatively identical objects. Recent work on the interpretation of quantum mechanics4 suggests that the principle fails in the quantum domain (see French 2006).

  1. Formulating the Principle
  2. Ontological Implications
  3. Arguments for and against the Principle
  4. The History of the Principle
    Other Internet Resources
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First published Wed Jul 31, 1996; substantive revision Sun Aug 15, 2010; Stanford Archive: The Identity of Indiscernibles.

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