Can Such a Thing be Doubted? Nietzsche and Principle of Identity in the History of Science

It is well known that Friedrich Nietzsche fundamentally changed and influenced the political and intellectual climate of the 20th century. However, it is less well known that Nietzsche’s critiques of the principle of identity predate, by decades, the largest epistemological crises encountered by western thought. The consequences of this crisis began to be felt near the middle of the 20th century in logic, mathematics, and physics. Much of what we hold to be indubitably true and conceptually unassailable, including the principle of identity, are likely only useful illusions.

Research Fellow William Parkhurst, a PhD candidate in philosophy at the University of South Florida, will discuss his research project that uses Nietzsche’s critique of the principle of identity as a focal point of orientation for understanding how, historically, the principle of identity was established and then called into question in the western tradition and western science.

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