Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Repeal Leibniz' Law"

Shortly after I had successfully defended my dissertation, which included a rousing defense of Relative Identity, I attended an APA function wearing a tee shirt I had made in honor of the occasion which proclaimed, "Repeal Leibniz' Law." An earnest male philosopher approached me and asked whether that motto "had something to do with feminism." When I expressed bewilderment he explained that he assumed that it had something to do with feminists' rejection of "Western male logic." Mercifully, once I began expounding the virtues of Relative Identity and explaining the more interesting logical moves in my dissertation he went away.
H. E. Baber, "The Market for Feminist Epistemology" (Monist; Oct94, Vol. 77 Issue 4).

As a complete side issue, it's one of the interesting quirks of the history of philosophy that Leibniz's Law is not really found in Leibniz at all (as Englebretsen and others have noted). Leibniz does at one point say that what he is going to mean by saying that a and b are the same is that a can be predicated of b and b can be predicated of a, but that's the closest he comes to it.

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