The best candidate approach to diachronic identity
Heller (Mark)
Source: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Volume 65, Number 4, December 1987, pp. 434-451(18)
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    This paper attempts to get clear about exactly what is wrong with the best candidate approach (bca). The ship of theseus1 paradox shows that our intuitions about the sufficient conditions for identity are inconsistent. Bca attempts to resolve the paradox without sacrificing our intuitions. Bca tells us to weight the conditions; in any given case the condition that applies is the most heavily weighted one that is satisfied. David wiggins objects that if bca were true, we would be able to say of a thing a that it is identical to b but could have been identical to c instead. This paper argues that this objection succeeds only if certain modal assumptions are made (assumptions about transworld identity or about the truth of certain counterfactuals). It then defends those assumptions in detail. The paper closes with a discussion of a temporal parts solution to the paradox and its relationship to bca.

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