Leibniz’s Argument for the Identity of Indiscernibles in his Letter to Casati

The Leibniz Review 22:137-150 (2012)
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Abstract
Leibniz’s short letter to the mathematician and physicist Ludovico Casati of 1689 is a short but interesting text on the Principle of Identity of Indiscernibles, to which it is entirely dedicated. Since there is no watermark in the paper of the letter, the letter is difficult to date, but it is likely that it was written during Leibniz’s stay in Rome, sometime between April and November of 1689 (A 2 2 287–8). When addressing the letter, Leibniz wrote ‘Casani’, but this seems to be a mistake and the real addressee is thought to be Ludovico Casati, nephew of Paolo Casati, the Jesuit mathematician. The letter, reproduced in the Berlin’s Academy edition of Leibniz’s works, was first published by Gerhardt in the Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie in 1892 (Gerhardt 1892: 53–54). It also appears in Robinet’s Iter Italicum (Robinet 1988: 134–35). But neither Gerhardt nor Robinet provide a philosophical discussion of the letter, and I am not aware of any other philosophical discussion of it. Furthermore, as far as I know, the letter has never been translated into any language. Thus I shall here provide a transcription (from A 2 2 288–89) and a translation of the letter into English, and a philosophical discussion of its treatment of the Identity of Indiscernibles.
ISBN(s)
1524-1556
PhilPapers/Archive ID
RODLAF-4
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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