Criteria of Identity and the 'Identity Mystics'
Zimmerman (Dean)
Source: Erkenntnis (1975-), Vol. 48, No. 2/3, Analytical Ontology (1998), pp. 281-301
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. The centerpiece of this paper is the construction of a framework in which to state theses of mereological supervenience1 – assertions about the dependence of wholes upon their parts. The project is given its point by the light it sheds upon two controversies over criteria of synchronic and diachronic unity.
  2. Some philosophers (the 'Identity Mystics', as I shall call them) claim that, at least in the case of human beings, there is no reason to look for informative criteria of identity over time.
  3. I shall argue that, given certain highly plausible theses of mereological supervenience2, if human beings are wholly material – if, that is, they have no immaterial soul – then this view is untenable.
  4. In the final section, I consider a problem that arises for those who suppose that criteria of synchronic and diachronic unity are, in a certain sense, intrinsic.


See "Wandinger (Nikolaus) - Masses of Stuff and Identity" for a response.

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