On the Identity of Artifacts
Lowe (E.J.)
Source: Journal of Philosophy 80.4, April 1983, pp. 220-232
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. Philosophical investigations of the conceptual sort are often pursued in the light of puzzle cases; and this is, I think, both understandable and (at least up to a point) justifiable, since it is only by pressing our concepts to their limits that we may discover where their boundaries lie and thus achieve some insight into their logical shape.
  2. This is as true in the philosophy of identity as in that of any other concept worthy of philosophical investigation.
    1. Hence, in discussions of personal identity, the abundance of examples involving amnesia, paramnesia, duplication1 of memories, brain transplantation2, commissurotomy3, and so forth.
    2. Philosophers concerned with artifact identity exhibit the same interest in puzzling or paradoxical cases, and of these the example of the ship of Theseus4 is perhaps the most notorious.
  3. Since this ancient puzzle is still very much a subject of dispute, I make no apology in raising it yet again. My procedure will be:
    1. To recall precisely what the problem is;
    2. To offer (yet another) solution to it; and finally
    3. To relate what I have said to the opinions of others, especially where these seem to involve important divergences from my own.

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