5.5303 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.
Wittgenstein here is posing a dilemma concerning the notion of identity. To what extent is W. right? For if he is, then to use the term "identity" is either to talk nonsense, or to say nothing.
so in other words, i gather that if two things were identical they would be the same thing. even if we cant discover what it is that is not the same about them, there has to be something, otherwise there would not be two of them.
nothing can have more than one identity, and no two things can have the same identity...is that it? i was watching the other thread for awhile, and i cant find it meaningful to say that because they cant occupy the same space they cant be identical...i could be wrong on that, but then again arent we only debating on the proper use of words? isnt it possible that two things can be the same but not be identical? for instance, two pieces of plastic molded in a factory to be blender covers would be the same, but not actually identical.
As I have been pointing out for some time, there are two different senses of the word, "identical". 1. Numerically identical, or one and the same. 2. Qualitatively identical. There are numerically two different things, but they have all the same properties. Leibniz gave the example of two different leaves which have exactly the same properties. There is a question whether it is possible for such a thing (qualitative sameness, but no numerical identity) to exist. (Some seem to think that the distinction I just made is "only" about the correct usage of the term "identity". As if what the word "identity" meant was an unimportant issue compared with some more profound issue, which is never explained. Some people seem to have the impression that any talk about words and definitions is somehow trivial and not profound enough for them.
In any case, to get back to what counts, is it true, as Wittgenstein says it is, that to say of two things that they are identical is nonsense? Or to say of one thing that is is identical with itself is to say nothing? I don't think either one is true.
I have always thought that a little clarity goes a long way, even it it isn't as profound as people think philosophy should be (or, at least, sound like).