THE NON-IDENTITY OF INDISCERNIBLES – and, apparently, the discernibility of identicals – IN SOCIAL AND POLITICAL DISCOURSE

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Paul Viminitz <> Philosophy, U. of Lethbridge


Without in any wise restricting its egress from the water – and provided one increases the temperature slowly enough – a frog will boil to death. With respect to innumerable features in our social and political environment, so will humans. A case in point was the war on European Jewry from 1933 to 1945. It turns out, however, that these Sorites fallacies constitute just a subset of a larger set of errors in social and political reasoning, the common denominator being a failure to apply the principle of the identity of indiscernibles. That is, we see differences where there are none because we fail to see differences where there are. Cases in point include tax-adding/deducting versus tax-embedding. Are these true glitches in our rationality? If so, ought they always to be brought to our collective attention? Or are there conditions under which they’re to be left unrepaired? In this paper I attempt to offer principled answers to these questions.

Categories: Critical Thinking, Papers My Wife Said I Should Have Published Long Ago

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