more from Ludwig Wittgenstein

Single Idea 6057

[catalogued under 9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 5. Self-Identity]

Full Idea

Roughly speaking, to say of two things that they are identical is nonsense, and to say of one thing that it is identical with itself is to say nothing at all.

Gist of Idea

Two things can't be identical, and self-identity is an empty concept


Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus [1921], 5.5303)

Book Reference

Wittgenstein,Ludwig: 'Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus', ed/tr. Pears,D. /McGuinness,B. [RKP 1961], p.52

A Reaction

Wittgenstein's attack on identity. It is best (following McGinn) to only speak of resemblance between two things (possibly to a very high degree, as in two electrons). Self-identity just is identity; you can drop the word 'identity', but not the concept.