- Just half of the eleven papers are concerned with the general concept of identity: those of Cartwright, Lockwood, Ruddick, Kripke, Woods, and, in part, Shoemaker. Papers by Chisholm, Coburn, and Hirsch bear titles ("Problems of Identity," "Identity and Spatiotemporal Continuity," "Essence and Identity") that suggest a concern with identity, but they prove to be concerned rather with individuation1 of bodies or persons or events, as is the last part of Shoemaker's paper. These topics are seen, evidently, as components of the general concept of identity. Munitz urges that attitude in his editorial introduction; identity of individuals is one thing, identity of universals2 another.
- This I deplore. Identity is as aloofly logical as quantification. It has its complete axioms, it has its general set-theoretic definition, and, if we forego set theory, it has its schematic definition by exhaustion of primitive predicates., When we do propound identity conditions for bodies, or persons, or classes, we are using the prior concept of identity in the special task of clarifying the term 'body' or 'person' or 'class'; for an essential part of the clarification of a term is clarification of the standard by which we individuate its denotata. Thus I find Shoemaker's opening lines congenial: "The topic of personal identity . . . has too often been, in discussions of identity, the tail that wags the dog."
- The paper by Margolis concerns a still more special application of identity: the identity of mind and body. This is admittedly an application not lacking in philosophical interest, and its current nickname 'identity theory' affords an excuse for writing about it in a book on identity. The paper by Hiz, finally, is devoted to the metaphysics of individuals.
- Having now indicated the range of the volume, I shall take up the papers3 in the order in which I have mentioned them.
Footnote 3: These short critiques are worth removing to the Abstracts of the papers themselves … some time!
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)