- This paper was presented orally, without a written text to the New York University lecture series on identity which makes up the volume "Munitz (Milton) - Identity and Individuation".
- The lecture was taped, and the present essay represents a transcription of these tapes, edited only slightly with no attempt to change the style of the original. If the reader imagines the sentences of this essay as being delivered, extemporaneously, with proper pauses and emphases, this may facilitate his comprehension. Nevertheless, there may still be passages which are hard to follow, and the time allotted necessitated a condensed presentation of the argument.
- A longer version of some of these views, still rather compressed and still representing a transcript of oral remarks, has appeared in Semantics of Natural Language, ed. By Donald Davidson and Gilbert Harman (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1972).
- Occasionally, reservations, amplifications and gratifications of my remarks had to be repressed, especially discussion of theoretical identification and the mind-body problem. The footnotes, which were added to the original, would have become even more unwieldy if this had not been done.
- A problem which has arisen frequently in contemporary philosophy is; “How are contingent identity1 statements possible?" This question is phrased by analogy with the way Kant phrased his question "How are synthetic a priori judgements possible?" In both cases, it has usually been taken for granted in the one case by Kant that synthetic a priori judgements were possible, and in the other case in contemporary philosophical literature that contingent statements of identity are possible.
- I do not intend to deal with the Kantian question except to mention this analogy: after a rather thick book was written trying to answer the question how synthetic a priori judgements were possible, others came along later who claimed that the solution to the problem was that synthetic a priori judgements were, of course, impossible and that a book trying to show otherwise was written in vain.
- I will not discuss who was right on the possibility of synthetic a priori judgements. But in the case of contingent statements of identity, most philosophers have felt that the notion of a contingent identity2 statement ran into something like the following paradox. An argument like the following can be given against the possibility of contingent identity3 statements
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