David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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History and Philosophy of Logic 32 (2):107 - 118 (2011)
This essay examines an argument of perennial importance against naive Leibnizian absolute identity theory, originating with Ruth Barcan in 1947 (Barcan, R. 1947. ?The identity of individuals in a strict functional 3 calculus of second order?, Journal of Symbolic Logic, 12, 12?15), and developed by Arthur Prior in 1962 (Prior, A.N. 1962. Formal Logic. Oxford: The Clarendon Press), presented here in the form offered by Nicholas Griffin in his 1977 book, Relative Identity (Griffin, N. 1977. Relative Identity. Oxford: The Clarendon Press). The objection considers the property of being necessarily identical to a specific object a as a counterexample to Leibnizian identity conditions, and more particularly to the indiscernibility of identicals, when it is only contingently true that a=b. The inquiry eliminates necessity and reference to a specifically designated object as responsible for the counterexample, leaving only identity. The requirements for an exact reinterpretation of Leibniz's Law in light of counterexamples involving converse intentional properties and the family of properties suggested by the property of being necessarily identical to a where a=b (or an equivalent definite descriptor variation) is only logically contingently true, are formalized in a more powerful, counterexample-resistant version of Leibniz's Law that does not succumb to relative identity as a necessary alternative motivated by desperation over the failure of the absolute identity principle
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