Foundations of Science

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 51–71 | Cite as

Is Identity Really so Fundamental?

  • Décio Krause
  • Jonas R. Becker ArenhartEmail author


We critically examine the claim that identity is a fundamental concept. According to those putting forward this thesis, there are four related reasons that can be called upon to ground the fundamental character of identity: (1) identity is presupposed in every conceptual system; (2) identity is required to characterize individuality; (3) identity cannot be defined; (4) the intelligibility of quantification requires identity. We address each of these points and argue that none of them advances compelling reasons to hold that identity is fundamental; in fact, most of the tasks that seem to require identity may be performed without identity. So, in the end, identity may not be a fundamental concept after all.


Identity Indiscernibility Fundamentality Quantum mechanics 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyFederal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)FlorianópolisBrazil

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