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Identity of the object I express by identity of the sign and not by means of a sign of identity. Difference of the objects by difference of the signs.

5.5301    That identity is not a relation between objects is obvious. This becomes very clear if, for example, one considers the proposition "(x) : fx . HOOK . x = a". What this proposition says is simply that only a satisfies the function f, and not that only such things satisfy the function f which have a certain relation to a.

One could of course say that in fact only a has this relation to a, but in order to express this we should need the sign of identity itself.

5.5302    Russell's definition of "=" won't do; because according to it one cannot say that two objects have all their properties in common. (Even if this proposition is never true, it is nevertheless significant.)

5.5303    Roughly speaking: to say of two things that they are identical is nonsense, to say of one thing that it is identical with itself is to say nothing.

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