- From Quiddities
- Identity as a true relation (against Hume’s doubts).
- Identity as useful (contra Wittgenstein1’s doubts).
- Treats briefly of Heraclitus’s river, Ship of Theseus2 & Persons3.
- Common theme: persistence through complete change of parts. Riddles arise because of what we choose to count as the reference of our words.
- Words as occasionally vague instruments. Agrees with Humpty Dumpty.
- So it’s arbitrary whether we say a person counts as beginning at conception, birth or in between. Persons taken loosely to be their bodies?
- Continuity of change is necessary for identity-preservation.
- Mentions stages.
- Brief Evaluation:
- Vagueness of language OK, but no mention of natural kinds4.
- No consideration of possibility that a person may begin to exist only after birth (if ever).
- No consideration that stages, rather than language, solve the Ship of Theseus5 problem.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018