Topology and Leibniz's principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles


The aim of this paper is to show that topology has a bearing on Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII). According to (PII), if, for all properties F, an object a has property F iff object b has property F, then a and b are identical. If any property F whatsoever is permitted in PII, then Leibniz’s principle is trivial, as is shown by “identity properties”. The aim of this paper is to show that topology can make a contribution to the problem of giving criteria of how to restrict the domain of properties to render (PII) non-trivial. In topology a wealth of different Leibnizian principles of identity can be defined - PII turns out to be just the weakest topological separation axiom T0 in disguise, stronger principles of can be defined with the aid of higher separation axioms Ti, i > 0. Topologically defined properties have a variety of nice features, in particular they are stable in a natural sense. Topologically defined properties do not have a monopoly on defining “good” properties. In the final section of the paper it is show that the topological approach is closely related to Gärdenfors’s approach of conceptual spaces based on the concept of convexity.

Author's Profile

Thomas Mormann
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München (PhD)


Added to PP

567 (#30,578)

6 months
158 (#22,783)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?