• Finlay
    I remember hearing about a philosopher who gave the exercise to a student, something like "go out and find two objects/forms in the world which are exactly alike". I am trying to use this as a citation but after an internet search can't seem to find who it was that said it and where. I am pretty sure it was either Plato or Socrates but if anyone knows or could point me in the right direction it would be much appreciated. Thanks!
  • StreetlightX
    It wouldn't happen to be part of the dialogue in Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World would it? I don't have a reference on hand, but there's a bit early in the novel where the philosopher is talking to Sophie about Aristotle and lego blocks - if I remember right - essentially dealing with the question of the Identity of Indiscernibles. In any case, if you read up around that problem - which seems to be what you're dealing with - you might find further clues.

    Alternatively, it might be buried somewhere in Leibniz's many correspondences, but that's a pure guess on my part.
  • 4thClassCitizen
    Droplets from a constant but intermittent dripping of water in a room with no wind would have no differences that we can discern with the naked eye. However, nothing is exactly the same on a molecular level.
  • 4thClassCitizen
    The law of identity originates from classical antiquity. The modern formulation of identity is that of Gottfried Leibniz.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein writes (Tractatus 5.5301):

    "That identity is not a relation between objects is obvious."
    At 5.5303 he elaborates:
    "Roughly speaking: to say of two things that they are identical is nonsense,
  • Hanover
    "Roughly speaking: to say of two things that they are identical is nonsense,

    I take this statement as distinct from the OP. The OP suggests that there is some variation in any two objects. I see that as an empirical statement.

    Your quote points out the incoherence in suggesting that two things be one. That is, identity specifies a specific object as being that object, so you couldn't have two identical objects, if for no other reason than you've already defined them as two different things. I see that as a definitional/logical statement..
  • tim wood
    I'm thinking Loren Eiseley described Louis Agassiz's giving a student (who may have been named) a fish with the assignment to describe it. Somehow, Agassiz kept asking the student to do a better job. After weeks and many attempts, the fish being much the worse for wear, the student began to have some understanding of the fish. I do not have the reference in hand.

    Or maybe Heraclitus's not being able to step into the same river twice, and Aristotle's joke that according to Cratylus, you couldn't even once.
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.