Identity is sameness: the relation that holds between each thing and itself, and never holds between two things. Most philosophical issues about identity concern the relationship between identity and other important concepts: time, necessity, personhood, composition (parthood), indiscernibility, and vagueness. In addition to these issues, some have suggested that identity is not absolute, but relative, so that we may say two things are the same person or statue, but not the same simpliciter. Finally, there are questions about whether there must always be informative criteria of identity that settle questions about when identity holds or fails to hold.
Quine 1950 is a classic piece that treats several of the issues mentioned above. For the relationship between identity and modality, see Kripke 1971, 1980, and Gibbard 1975. On the identity of indiscernibles, see Black 1952 and Adams 1979. Baxter 1988 and Lewis 1991 defend versions of the thesis of composition as identity. See van Inwagen 1994 for a critique. Evans 1978 argues against vague identity. See Stalnaker 1988 and Parsons & Woodruff 1995 for replies. On relative identity, see Geach 1967, Geach 1980, and Perry 1970.
|Introductions||See the Stanford Encyclopedia piece on Identity Noonan & Curtis 2014 for a nice overview of nearly all of these topics. Hawthorne 2003 has an excellent discussion of several of these issues as well. Many of the papers listed above are collected in Korman & Sosa 2011.|
- Locke: Identity (111)
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