Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Aristotle, Johann Gottfried Herder and Ion

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9 ideas

9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 1. Concept of Identity
Two things with the same primary being and essence are one thing [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: If any two items have a single substance [ousia, primary being] and a single what-it-is-to-be-that-thing [to ti en einai, essence], then they are themselves a single thing.
     From: Aristotle (Metaphysics [c.324 BCE], 1038b14)
     A reaction: [alternative translations by Vasilis Politis] This isn't quite the identity of indiscernibles, because it allows superficial identity along with deep difference (H2O and XYZ, for example, or jadeite and nephrite).
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 4. Type Identity
Things such as two different quadrangles are alike but not wholly the same [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: Things are alike if they are not just the same simpliciter, exhibiting differences in their substrate substance but being formally the same. Examples are larger and smaller quadrangles and unequal straight lines, which are alike but not the same.
     From: Aristotle (Metaphysics [c.324 BCE], 1054b06)
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 5. Self-Identity
Aristotle denigrates the category of relation, but for modern absolutists self-relation is basic [Benardete,JA on Aristotle]
     Full Idea: Aristotle denigrates the whole category of relations, but modern logical absolutists single out self-relation (in the mode of identity) as metaphysically privileged.
     From: comment on Aristotle (Categories [c.331 BCE]) by José A. Benardete - Metaphysics: the logical approach Ch.8
     A reaction: I think this refers to Plantinga and Merrihew Adams, who make identity-with-itself the basic component of individual existences.
We can't understand self-identity without a prior grasp of the object [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: To ask why a thing is identical with itself is not to ask a real question in the absence of a clear grasp of the fact ….or of the object.
     From: Aristotle (Metaphysics [c.324 BCE], 1041a12)
     A reaction: This seems a very nice response to Lewis's attempt to sweep difficulties of identity aside, when he rest identity on primitive self-identity.
You are one with yourself in form and matter [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: You are one with yourself both in form and in matter.
     From: Aristotle (Metaphysics [c.324 BCE], 1054a35)
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 8. Leibniz's Law
Only if two things are identical do they have the same attributes [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: It is only to things which are indistinguishable and one in essence [ousia] that all the same attributes are generally held to belong.
     From: Aristotle (Sophistical Refutations [c.331 BCE], 179a37)
     A reaction: This simply IS Leibniz's Law (to which I shall from now on quietly refer to as 'Aristotle's Law'). It seems that it just as plausible to translate 'ousia' as 'being' rather than 'essence'. 'Indistinguishable' and 'one in ousia' are not the same.
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 9. Sameness
'Same' is mainly for names or definitions, but also for propria, and for accidents [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: 'The same' is employed in several senses: its principal sense is for same name or same definition; a second sense occurs when sameness is applied to a property [idiu]; a third sense is applied to an accident.
     From: Aristotle (Topics [c.331 BCE], 103a24-33)
     A reaction: [compressed] 'Property' is better translated as 'proprium' - a property unique to a particular thing, but not essential - see Idea 12262. Things are made up of essence, propria and accidents, and three ways of being 'the same' are the result.
Two identical things have the same accidents, they are the same; if the accidents differ, they're different [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: If two things are the same then any accident of one must also be an accident of the other, and, if one of them is an accident of something else, so must the other be also. For, if there is any discrepancy on these points, obviously they are not the same.
     From: Aristotle (Topics [c.331 BCE], 152a36)
     A reaction: So what is always called 'Leibniz's Law' should actually be 'Aristotle's Law'! I can't see anything missing from the Aristotle version, but then, since most people think it is pretty obvious, you would expect the great stater of the obvious to get it.
Numerical sameness and generic sameness are not the same [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: Things which are the same specifically or generically are not necessarily the same or cannot possibly be the same numerically.
     From: Aristotle (Topics [c.331 BCE], 152b32)
     A reaction: See also Idea 12266. This looks to me to be a pretty precise anticipation of Peirce's type/token distinction, but without the terminology. It is reassuring that Aristotle spotted it, as that makes it more likely to be a genuine distinction.