Criteria of identity and structuralist ontology

Philosophia Mathematica 16 (3):388-396 (2008)
Abstract
In discussions about whether the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles is compatible with structuralist ontologies of mathematics, it is usually assumed that individual objects are subject to criteria of identity which somehow account for the identity of the individuals. Much of this debate concerns structures that admit of non-trivial automorphisms. We consider cases from graph theory that violate even weak formulations of PII. We argue that (i) the identity or difference of places in a structure is not to be accounted for by anything other than the structure itself and that (ii) mathematical practice provides evidence for this view. We want to thank Leon Horsten, Jeff Ketland, Øystein Linnebo, John Mayberry, Richard Pettigrew, and Philip Welch for valuable comments on drafts of this paper. We are especially grateful to Fraser MacBride for correcting our interpretation of two of his papers and for other helpful comments. CiteULike    Connotea    Del.icio.us    What's this?
Keywords structuralism   identity   WAYS
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