Advertisement

Foundations of Science

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 51–71 | Cite as

Is Identity Really so Fundamental?

  • Décio Krause
  • Jonas R. Becker ArenhartEmail author
Article
  • 27 Downloads

Abstract

We critically examine the claim that identity is a fundamental concept. According to those putting forward this thesis, there are four related reasons that can be called upon to ground the fundamental character of identity: (1) identity is presupposed in every conceptual system; (2) identity is required to characterize individuality; (3) identity cannot be defined; (4) the intelligibility of quantification requires identity. We address each of these points and argue that none of them advances compelling reasons to hold that identity is fundamental; in fact, most of the tasks that seem to require identity may be performed without identity. So, in the end, identity may not be a fundamental concept after all.

Keywords

Identity Indiscernibility Fundamentality Quantum mechanics 

References

  1. Arenhart, J. R. B. (2012). Many entities, no identity. Synthese, 187, 801–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arenhart, J. R. B. (2014). Semantic analysis of non-reflexive logics. Logic Journal of the IGPL, 22(4), 565–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arenhart, J. R. B. (2017). The received view on quantum non-individuality: formal and metaphysical analysis. Synthese, 194, 1323–1347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arenhart, J. R. B., & Krause, D. (2014). Why Non-Individuality? A discussion on individuality, indentity, and cardinality in the quantum context. Erkenntnis, 79, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arenhart, J. R. B., & Krause, D. (2017). Oppositions and quantum mechanics: superposition and identity. In J.-Y. Béziau & S. Gerogiorgakis (Eds.), New dimensions of the Square of Opposition (pp. 337–356). Munich: Philosophia Verlag GmbH.Google Scholar
  6. Béziau, J.-Y. (2003). New light on the square of oppositions and its nameless corners. Logical Investigations, 10, 218–232.Google Scholar
  7. Black, M. (1952). The identity of indiscernibles. Mind, 61, 153–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blizard, W. D. (1988). Multiset theory. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, 30(1), 36–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bueno, O. (2014). Why identity is fundamental. American Philosophical Quarterly, 51(4), 325–332.Google Scholar
  10. Caulton, A., & Butterfield, J. (2012). On kinds of indiscernibility in logic and metaphysics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 63, 27–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dalton, J. (1808). A new system of chemical philosophy. London: Printed by S. Russell.Google Scholar
  12. Domenech, G., & Holik, F. (2007). A Discussion of particle number and quantum indistinguishability. Foundations of Physics, 37, 855–878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Domenech, G., Holik, F., & Krause, D. (2008). Quasi-spaces and the foundations of quantum mechanics. Foundations of Physics, 38, 969–994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dorato, M., & Morganti, M. (2013). Grades of Individuality. A pluralistic view of identity in quantum mechanics and in the sciences. Philosophical Studies, 163(3), 591–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Feynman, R. (1985). The character of physical law. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  16. French, S., & Krause, D. (2006). Identity in physics. A historical, philosophical and formal analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hawley, K. (2009). Identity and indiscernibility. Mind, 118, 101–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ketland, J. (2006). Structuralism and the identity of indiscernibles. Analysis, 66(4), 303–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ketterle, W. (2007). Bose-Einstein condensation: identity crisis for indistinguishable particles. In J. Evans & A. S. Thorndike (Eds.), Quantum mechanics at the crossroads. New perspectives from history, philosophy and physics (Vol. 99, pp. 169–182). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  20. Krause, D., & Arenhart, J. R. B. (2015). Individuality, quantum physics, and a metaphysics of non-individuals: The role of the formal. In Alexander Guay & Thomas Pradeau (Eds.), Individuals across the sciences (pp. 61–80). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kunen, K. (2009). The foundations of mathematics. London: College Publications.Google Scholar
  22. Ladyman, J. (2007). On the identity and diversity of objects in a structure. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary, 81, 23–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ladyman, J., & Bigaj, T. (2010). The principle of identity of indiscernibles and quantum mechanics. Philosophy of Science, 77, 117–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Liebesman, D. (2015). We do not count by identity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 93(1), 21–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lowe, E. J. (2003). Individuation. In M. J. Loux & D. W. Zimmerman (Eds.), The oxford handbook of metaphysics (pp. 75–95). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. McGinn, C. (2000). Logical properties. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mendelson, E. (2010). Introduction to mathematical logic (5th ed.). London: Chapman & Hall/CRC.Google Scholar
  28. Muller, F. A., & Saunders, S. (2008). Discerning Fermions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 59, 499–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Muller, F. A., & Seevinck, M. P. (2009). Discerning Elementary Particles. Philosophy of Science, 76(2), 179–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Priest, G. (2006). Doubt truth to be a liar. Oxford: Clarendom Press.Google Scholar
  31. Ramsey, F. P. (1950). The foundations of mathematics and other logical essays. London: Routledge & Kegan-Paul.Google Scholar
  32. Rodriguez-Pereyra, G. (2015). Leibniz Principle of Identity of Indiscernibles. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Saunders, S. (2003). Physics and Leibniz’s Principles. In K. Brading & E. Castellani (Eds.), Symmetries in physics: Philosophical reflections (pp. 289–307). Cambridge: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shapiro, S. (2008). Identity, indiscernibility, and ante rem structuralism: the tale of i and –i. Philosophia Mathematica, 16, 285–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shumener, E. (2017). The metaphysics of identity: is identity fundamental? Philosophy Compass.  https://doi.org/10.1111/phc3.12397.Google Scholar
  36. Wehmeier, K. F. (2012). How to live without identity—and why. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 90(4), 761–777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyFederal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)FlorianópolisBrazil

Personalised recommendations