Symmetrie pp 153-166 | Cite as

Similarity and congruence: a chapter in the epistemology of science



Instead of giving an elementary geometric definition Leibniz tried to characterize similarity by a universal principle as follows: Two things are similar which are indiscernible when each is considered by itself. Thus two squares in the same plane may show many differences when one regards their relation to each other; for instance the sides of the one may be inclined by 34° against the sides of the other. But if each is taken as an independent entity one has to admit that every objective statement made about one will hold for the other, in this sense they are indiscernible.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.1885–1955ZürichSchweiz

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