The Need For a Sign of Identity
Williams (Christopher)
Source: Williams (Christopher) - What is Identity? Chapter 3
Paper - Abstract

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Analytical TOC1

  1. An argument for the view that (1A) 'Paul thinks that Boscovich was born in Ragusa and that Dubrovnik is a present-day Croatian holiday resort' entails (4A) 'Paul thinks that a town where Boscovich was born is the same as a present-day Croatian holiday resort'.
  2. Where does the fallacy in this argument lie?
  3. Not in confusing (3A) 'Paul thinks that, for some town x, both Boscovich was born in x and x is a present-day Croatian holiday resort' with (5A) 'For some x, Paul thinks that, etc.'. If (5A) is entailed by (1A), so is (3A).
  4. A distinction needs to be made between (2) 'Boscovich was born in Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik is a present-day Croatian holiday resort' and (6) 'Dubrovnik was the birthplace of Boscovich and is a present-day Croatian holiday resort'.
  5. Two ways of explaining the construction of conjunctive predicables like '--- is old and wise': the explanation in terms of truth and the explanation in terms of satisfaction.
  6. Conjunctive predicables as the result of operating (i) on a conjunctive proposition with a name in each conjunct by removing these names to form a two-place predicable, and (ii) operating on this predicable, by an operation which can be expressed in several different ways, to form a one-place predicable.
  7. This latter operation (ii) can be generalized to apply to two-place predicables obtained from atomic as well as from molecular propositions. Here it can be expressed by the reflexive pronoun.
  8. Geach refuses to generalize the concept of the reflexive pronoun in this way. His reasons for refusing seem to be mistaken.
  9. I introduce new symbolism (the Xi-operator) to replace that used by Geach to do the work of the reflexive pronoun partly in order to mark the need to generalize the account of operation (ii).
  10. Using this symbolism we are able to represent the difference between (2A) and (6A) as a matter of scope distinction.
  11. The fallacious argument presented at the beginning of the chapter forces us to recognize, pace Wittgenstein, the need for a sign of identity, while agreeing that the sign we need is not the sign for a relation.


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.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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