The Paradox of Identity: Plato To Russell
Williams (Christopher)
Source: Williams (Christopher) - What is Identity? Chapter 1
Paper - Abstract

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Analytical TOC1

  1. There is a paradox of identity, as of existence. Identity propositions seem either to state trivially that something is the same as itself, or to state falsely that one thing is the same as another.
  2. This paradox troubled Plato, Aristotle, and Hume.
  3. Frege taught in the first instance that identity propositions state that two names belong to one thing, and later that they can be informative because names can have different sense but the same meaning. The first view is plausible for propositions like 'St John is the same politician as Bolingbroke'.
  4. Russell's Theory of Descriptions provides a solution of the paradox. Russell's informal exposition of his theory.
  5. A more formal exposition.
  6. The logic of identity2 permits a shortened version of the analysis of identity propositions provided by the Theory of Descriptions.
  7. Russell's analysis shows that the paradox of identity, like the paradox of existence, arises from mistaking a second-level for a first-level predicable.


Photocopy of complete Book filed in "Various - Papers on Identity Boxes: Vol 19 (W)".

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from "Williams (Christopher) - What Is Identity?: Introduction and Analytical Table of Contents". The numbering corresponds to Williams’s section-numbering.

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