The Triviality of the Identity of Indiscernibles


The Identity of Indiscernibles is the principle that objects cannot differ only numerically. It is widely held that one interpretation of this principle is trivially true: the claim that objects that bear all of the same properties are identical. This triviality ostensibly arises from haecceities (properties like \textit{is identical to a}). I argue that this is not the case; we do not trivialize the Identity of Indiscernibles with haecceities, because it is impossible to express the haecceities of indiscernible objects. I then argue that this inexpressibility generalizes to all of their trivializing properties. Whether the Identity of Indiscernibles is trivially true ultimately turns on whether we can quantify over properties that we cannot express.

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Samuel Elgin
University of California, San Diego


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