- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Relative Identity1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Statistics" above.
Write-up2 (as at 20/09/2018 09:08:38): Relative Identity
- The orthodox approach to the Logic of Identity4 is to treat it as a necessary equivalence relation. I follow this approach.
- However, in response to various TEs5, deviant forms6 of Identity have been devised, and some are still popular.
- However, the logic of identity is so secure that it is sensible to look for other explanations of any TE that appears to bring it in doubt.
- Relative identity is invoked to try to explain the intuition that – following certain exigencies (say, a nasty bang on the head; or the Phineas Gage7 situation) – I might be the same human being, but not the same person.
- So, the identity relation is indexed to a sortal8. It is said that it makes no sense to say that A is the same individual as B unless we say “the same what”.
- My view is that – while it is true that we need to be careful what individual we are to pick out for identity claims – once we have picked out an individual (say in more than one way), it is self-identical whatever description we are using. And necessarily so as Saul Kripke has shown in his Hesperus / Phosphorus / Venus discussion in "Kripke (Saul) - Naming and Necessity".
- So, when we are thinking of what we imagine to be a single thing under two descriptions, then if we imagine the thing under one description coming apart from the thing under another, then one or other description doesn’t really pick out that thing as a substance9, but (say) picks out a property of that substance.
- So, returning to our example, when we say “same person”, the term “person” is ambiguous.
When this is understood, in neither case are we tempted into espousing relative identity:-
- It can either stand as a proxy for “human being”, or
- “Same person” can mean “has the same personality10”.
- In this case we have identity, and
- In this case we are comparing a property of a substance, and substances can change their properties over time without ceasing11 to be the same substance.
- I intend to cover this topic in Chapter 412 along with the other deviant approaches to Identity.
- For a page of Links13 to this Note, Click here.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read14, include15 the following:-
- The study-list for this topic would include16:-
- "Borowski (E.J.) - Diachronic Identity as Relative Identity", Borowski
- "Deutsch (Harry) - Relative Identity", Deutsch
- "Geach (Peter) - Ontological Relativity and Relative Identity", Geach
- "Griffin (Nicholas) - Relative Identity", Griffin
- "Noonan (Harold) - Objects and Identity: An Examination of Relative Identity and its Consequences", Noonan
- "Noonan (Harold) - Relative Identity", Noonan
- "Puccetti (Roland) - Borowski on the Relative Identity of Persons", Puccetti17
- "Wiggins (David) - Identity & Spatio-temporal Continuity", Wiggins
- "Wilson (Jack) - Identity and Sortals: Why Relative Identity Is Self-Contradictory", Wilson
- This is mostly a place-holder18.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (20/09/2018 09:08:38).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 7: Footnote 11:
- I’m not sure if this is the correct terminology.
- So, Phineas Gage continues to be the same substance (human being – or maybe human animal) despite a radical change of personality.
- See my Note on Personality (eventually!) for the individuation and persistence of “personalities”. Just what sort of thing are they? Universals? Tropes?
- If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
- Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
- There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
- Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
- In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
- In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
- My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
- I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
- Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
- As this list includes several whole books, it might be a bit much, though this is an important topic.
- I doubt this paper is really about Relative Identity, but more about Brain Transplants.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018