- The word "identity" has several senses in everyday English. Sometimes it has a psychological sense (as in "He had an identity crisis"); sometimes it has more of a cultural sense (as in "They tried to preserve their ethnic identity”); sometimes there are political overtones (as in "They saw it as a threat to their national identity"); and there are no doubt other senses as well.
- Many of these senses, including the ones just mentioned, have definite emotional dimensions. But when philosophers use the term, they usually mean nothing of the kind. They usually mean the relation of identity (mentioned in Section 3.11). It is difficult to think of any notion more devoid of emotional overtones than the relation of identity. Identity is the relation that, as a matter of necessity, every entity bears to itself, and no entity bears to anything other than itself. Despite its evident austerity and simplicity, this relation has caused an enormous amount of philosophical confusion and trouble, some of which we will explore and try to dispel in this chapter.
- Not surprisingly, much of the confusion and trouble has its roots in language. One of the major sources is the English word "is," which is used in three remarkably different ways. (A similar phenomenon occurs in many other languages too.) …
The three uses are
- Property attribution
- (Exact) similarity.
Photocopy filed in "Various - Papers on Identity Boxes: Vol 08 (I-K)".
Footnote 1: Ie. the first Section of "Jubien (Michael) - Platonism".
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