Identity of Indiscernable

by Koxeida

Living out his imagination, thinking the worth of his life, and communicating his identity through writing, Koxeida struggles not for the sake of others, but for himself. He is a selfish amateur being.

Just some food for thought when I was thinking about the issue of cloning, and it reminded me of Leibniz’s theory on indiscernible.

Is it possible that there can be exactly 2 identical objects?

So the identity of indiscernible is an ontological principle that states that there cannot be separate objects or entities that have all their properties in common. If my understanding serves me right, 2 distinct objects/entities cannot be the same because of one simple reason. They cannot be the same because they have this one obviously different property — they cannot exist simultaneously on the same spacetime coordinate unless they exist simultaneously in parallel universe.

If we remove the exception of multiverse, then in this universe, or reality, there cannot be 2 distinct objects/entities which have all their properties in common since spacetime coordinates are essential information as to what these objects may be. Let’s just say we remove this one glaring difference, and ignore the notion of spacetime for this comparison. Then could there be 2 identical objects?

The next obstacle is the issue of what constitutes these 2 objects. As far as our understanding of fundamental particles of the universe goes, even today we are still unsure whether there are even more ‘fundamental’ particles out in the universe. Less than a century ago, we believe electron, proton and neutron to be the fundamental particles of the universe, but now, there’re sub-atomic particles such as bosons, fermions, etc which constitute these fundamental particles.

My point is that:

1) fundamental particles are the very basic building blocks of structures so they must have the defined, the unchanging form.

2) Fundamental particle of similar nature must behave exactly the same, possess uniform property because that’s how the definition goes; otherwise it goes against the notion of what makes something a fundamental particle. So combining these 2 reasons, we cannot conclude that 2 distinct objects cannot be the same because if we cannot determine what are the most fundamental particles, then we will not be able to confirm with certainty whether these 2 distinct objects are the same. (For instance no 2 electrons may be the same because of its different quark states and so on).

I’m not too sure about string theory where it states fundamental particles are made of identical strings, with the only difference between the strings being their vibration patterns. So let’s just ignore this theory for now. You see, both the macro view of the world and micro view of the world serve to prove Leibniz’s idea of identity of indiscernible This leads me to find an exception to the aforementioned rules. and hence, it reminded me of the Plato/Socrates’s idea of Forms. The reason was that I realize what the above 2 ‘obstacles’ are showing, perhaps, the extrinsic property of an object, not its intrinsic quality.

If my understanding serves me right, I believe that the notion of Forms refers to the concepts and ideas that are the most fundamental, or the essence of what makes our perceived reality. Let’s say the Form of Square. And a person A and a person B think about the Form of Square. Both of them have the exact notion of what Square really is. Hence, would that make these two distinct entities (distinct in that it’s thought up by separate persons A and B) exactly the same? Of course I’m also ignoring the semantic and logical side of the argument where it is an obvious violation of the rules. So if all these exceptions are made, can we say with certainty that the statement of two distinct Form of Square is the same?

Considering the fact that Forms are both aspatial and atemporal, and that they are entities that exist in reality (it would be absurd to think that Square doesn’t exist since everyone of us can know without using any of our senses what Square really is), it leads me to believe that this is the only case whereby it trumps Leibniz’s idea of identity of Indiscernible. That’s all for now, folks. Feel free to leave a comment for discussion and I’m certain I may have some ridiculous misunderstanding on certain concepts so take this with a grain of salt!


One thought on “Identity of Indiscernable

  1. Saying the Form of the Square exists “in reality” carries the ontological baggage to the effect that the world of Forms exist “in reality”, i.e. the Form of the Good also exists in reality, in which case the question becomes whether all these Forms are existent “in reality”, and whether they, too, are atemporal and aspatial. It is perhaps easier to say that the Form of the Square is an idea that humans are cognitively equipped to have, though that means that they *are* temporal and spatial, being an independent ideation of what a Square is in each of our heads.

    Also, an idea existing is not the same as a thing existing in objective reality, and having an idea of something may not mean it exists in reality – one can be absolutely certain of an idea that a pigs can fly by watching highly well rendered 3D pigs fly all the time, but real pigs cannot fly nevertheless. Everyone may “know” the idea of the Square, but this does not prove that there is a form of the square out there.

    Lastly, even given the theory of Forms, all you are saying is that the *content* of the idea is the same. Since you have qualified that the theory of Forms is atemporal and aspatial, then the Form of the Square is trivially equivalent with itself. If you are talking about each person’s *conception* of the form of the Square, then they are individual ideas temporally and spatially located.

    Perhaps you might want to think about it? 🙂


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