Two Aspects of Physical Identity
Adams (Ernest)
Source: Philosophical Studies, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Aug., 1978), pp. 111-134
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. Granted, as the sortalists1 insist, that categories of 'objects' with identity conditions peculiar to them are imaginable almost ad libitum, it remains plausible that in fact there is much in common among identity conditions of a considerable variety of categories, and in particular among those which are loosely grouped together under the heading physical body. Our concern will be with these kinds of identity conditions and in particular with two aspects of them, both related to spatio-temporal continuity (s-t-continuity), some form or approximation of which appears to be common to all categories of this class.
  2. The first aspect concerns the relation between the s-t-continuity requirement for identity-through-time and the purely spatial continuity (s-continuity) requirement for unity, or identity-through-space, and the special complications with these conditions which arise with bodies in contact, or coming into contact with and then separating from other bodies.
  3. The second aspect has to do with the role played by body features (in particular, marks on their surfaces) and their continuity-based identity conditions in establishing bodily identity-through-time, specifically the tracing of identity through contact and separation.

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