I am curious as to under what conditions we say that two things are ontologically distinct. My hunch is that we say two things are ontologically distinct if they differ in their essential properties. This is what Aristotle would say. Are there any contemporary discussions with respect to this issue? I would be grateful if you could direct me to them

  • Why only essential? Two otherwise identical rocks in different locations are already ontologically distinct. If they differ in any property, essential or accidental, they are distinct. Under Leibniz's principle of identity of indiscernibles, this condition is also necessary, to be distinct two things must have at least one property that distinguishes them. However, Leibniz's principle is controversial, so, perhaps, even less might do. See also SEP, Identity.
    – Conifold
    Sep 20, 2023 at 8:04
  • @Conifold Thank you for your response. I thought the fact that two things are distinct does not imply that they are ontologically distinct. For example I'm distinct from you but I'm not ontologically distinct from you because both you and I fall under the genus of human. Sep 20, 2023 at 8:16
  • That would make nothing "ontologically distinct" because any two things would fall under some common category.
    – Conifold
    Sep 20, 2023 at 9:20
  • @Conifold But according to Aristotle, being is not a category. Sep 20, 2023 at 9:24
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    Then you would do well to start with the article on identity that Conifold told you about, and also the article on Ordinary Objects. Sep 20, 2023 at 14:10


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