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Identity

Edited by Chad Carmichael (Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis)
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Summary

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), 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 are informative criteria of identity that settle questions about when identity holds or fails to hold.

Key works

Quine 1950 is a classic piece that treats several of the issues mentioned above. For the relationship between identity and modality, see Kripke 19711980, 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 Kim & Sosa 1999.

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Subcategories:History/traditions: Identity
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  1. E. J. A. (1966). Self-Knowledge and Self-Identity. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 19 (3):601-601.
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  2. D. A. Anapolitanos (1978). A Theorem on Absolute Indiscernibles. Studia Logica 37 (3):291 - 295.
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  3. C. Anthony Anderson (2001). A Criterion of Identity for Intensional Entities. In C. Anthony Anderson & Michael Zelëny (eds.), Logic, Meaning, and Computation: Essays in Memory of Alonzo Church. Kluwer. 305--395.
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  4. Lyle E. Angene (1972). Proper Names and Statements of Identity. Southwestern Journal of Philosophy 3 (1):77-87.
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  5. Reiner Ansén (1996). Amphiboles of Identity. The European Legacy 1 (2):826-831.
    (1996). Amphiboles of identity. The European Legacy: Vol. 1, Fourth International Conference of the International Society for the study of European Ideas, pp. 826-831.
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  6. Kwame Anthony Appiah (2006). The Ethics of Identity. Philosophy 81 (317):539-542.
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  7. Agustín Arrieta & M. J. García-Encinas (2001). André Gallois, Occasions of Identity: A Study in the Metaphysics of Persistence, Change, and Sameness Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 21 (1):39-41.
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  8. Aleida Assmann & Jan Assmann (eds.) (2006). Verwandlungen. Fink.
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  9. A. J. Ayer (1975). Identity and Reference. Philosophia 5 (3):171-192.
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  10. H. E. Baber (1998). Rethinking Identity and Metaphysics. International Philosophical Quarterly 38 (3):338-339.
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  11. Lynne Rudder Baker (2002). The Ontological Status of Persons. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (2):370-388.
    Throughout his illustrious career, Roderick Chisholm was concerned with the nature of persons. On his view, persons are what he called ‘entia per se.’ They exist per se, in their own right. I too have developed an account of persons—I call it the ‘Constitution View’—an account that is different in important ways from Chisholm’s. Here, however, I want to focus on a thesis that Chisholm and I agree on: that persons have ontological significance in virtue of being persons. Although I’ll (...)
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  12. R. Balasubramanian (1962). Identity of Maṇḍanamiśra. Journal of the American Oriental Society 82 (4):522-532.
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  13. L. E. Ballentine (1992). Can One Detect the State of an Individual System? Foundations of Physics 22 (3):333-342.
    Some interpretations of quantum mechanics regard a mixed quantum state as a ensemble, each individual member of which has a definite but unknown state vector. Other interpretations ascribe a state vector only to anensemble of similarly prepared systems, but not to anindividual. Previous attempts to detect the hypothetical individual state vectors have failed, essentially because the state operator (density matrix) enters the relevant equations linearly. An example from nonlinear dynamics, in which a density matrix enters nonlinearly, is examined because it (...)
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  14. Gilead Bar-Elli (1982). Identity and the Formation of the Notion of Object. Or: The Identity of Indiscernibles: A Synthetic a Priori. Erkenntnis 17 (2):229 - 248.
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  15. Kenneth F. Barber & Jorge J. E. Gracia (eds.) (1994). Individuation and Identity in Early Modern Philosophy: Descartes to Kant. State University of New York Press.
    This book is the first to concentrate on the problems of individuation and identity in early modern philosophy and to trace their philosophical development through the period in a coherent way.
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  16. Michael Baur (1992). Kinds of Being. Review of Metaphysics 46 (1):166-168.
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  17. Donald L. M. Baxter (2001). Loose Identity and Becoming Something Else. Noûs 35 (4):592–601.
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  18. Lynne Belaief (1966). Toward a Concept of Human Identity. Philosophy Today 10 (2):109.
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  19. D. M. Bell (2010). Development of Identity. In Ronald L. Jackson (ed.), Encyclopedia of Identity. Sage Publications. 1.
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  20. David Benfield & Edward Erwin (1975). Identity, Schmidentity — It's Not All the Same. Philosophical Studies 27 (2):145 - 148.
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  21. Lionel Bently (2010). 2 Identity and the Law. In Giselle Walker & E. S. Leedham-Green (eds.), Identity. Cambridge University Press. 21--26.
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  22. Gustav Bergmann (1944). Notes on Identity. Philosophy of Science 11 (2):123-124.
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  23. Gustav Bergmann (1943). Notes on Identity. Philosophy of Science 10 (3):163-166.
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  24. J. Y. Béziau (1996). Identity, Logic and Structure. Bulletin of the Section of Logic 25:89-94.
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  25. Tomasz Bigaj (2015). On Discernibility and Symmetries. Erkenntnis 80 (1):117-135.
    This paper addresses the issue of the multiplicity of various grades of discernibility that can be defined in model theory. Building upon earlier works on the subject, I first expand the known logical categorizations of discernibility by introducing several symmetry-based concepts of discernibility, including one I call “witness symmetry-discernibility”. Then I argue that only grades of discernibility stronger than this one possess certain intuitive features necessary to individuate objects. Further downsizing of the set of non-equivalent grades of discernibility can be (...)
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  26. Max Black (2012). L'identité des indiscernablesThe Identity of Indiscernibles. Philosophia Scientiae 16:121-132.
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  27. Brand Blanshard (1967). Rejoinder to My Critics. Review of Metaphysics 21 (2):262 - 272.
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  28. James Bogen (1966). Identity and Origin. Analysis 26 (5):160 - 165.
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  29. Giovanni Boniolo (2013). Is an Account of Identity Necessary for Bioethics? What Post-Genomic Biomedicine Can Teach Us. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):401-411.
    Is a theory of identity necessary for bioethics? In this paper I investigate that question starting from an empirical explication of identity based on post-genomics, in particular on epigenetics. After analysing whether the classic problems a theory of identity has to cope with also affect the proposed epigenetic account of identity, I deal with three topics to offer an insight on the relationship between that account and bioethics.
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  30. F. Bonsack (1962). Réponse a M. Evans Et a Quelques Autres. Dialectica 16 (1):83-91.
    RésuméL'auteur montre que si l'argumentation d'Einstein paraǐt classique sur presque tous les points, elle ne l'est pas sur un point fondamental, qui est l'égalité de la vitesse de la lumière dans toutes les directions. Si l'on laisse tomber ce postulat, on retombe sur la simultanéité absolue. D'autre part, ce « classicisme » est légitime et apparaǐt au contraire comme une habileté didactique. Enfin, il montre que le point qui déroute M. Evans, c'est la relativité de la vitesse relative, qui n'existe (...)
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  31. Suzanne Bray & William Gray (eds.) (2012). Persona and Paradox: Issues of Identity for C.S. Lewis, His Friends and Associates. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
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  32. Geoffrey G. Bridges (1959). Identity and Distinction in Petrus Thomae, O.F.M. St. Bonaventure, N.Y.,Franciscan Institute.
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  33. Baruch A. Brody (1980). One. The Theory of Identity for Enduring Objects. In , Identity and Essence. Princeton University Press. 1-23.
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  34. D. H. M. Brooks (1995). The Unity of the Mind. St Martin's Press.
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  35. Kevin Brooks (2007/2008). Being. Scholastic, Inc..
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  36. Mark T. Brown (1987). Semantic Features of the Identities of Persons. Dissertation, University of Kansas
    The chief goal of this dissertation is to attain some clarity with respect to the interconnected issues which constitute the problem of personal identity. The logical and linguistic categories developed by Saul Kripke provide the tools through which these issues can be separated and put into perspective. In the first two chapters I examine the modal and other semantic features of rigid singular terms and such rigid predicates as natural kind terms. I defend both the transworld identity of named individuals (...)
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  37. Cedric Brun (2007). Lockean Mechanism and the Principle of Identity. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 28 (2):141-165.
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  38. Friedemann Buddensiek (2006). Die Einheit des Individuums: Eine Studie Zur Ontologie der Einzeldinge. De Gruyter.
    In der Kohdrenz des Gef]ges besteht die Einheit des Individuums.
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  39. Nico Buitendag (2013). Contrasting Differences in Identity and Agency Between Narrative and Autopoietic Systems. Hts Theological Studies 69 (1):01-09.
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  40. Peter J. Burke (2004). Extending Identity Control Theory: Insights From Classifier Systems. Sociological Theory 22 (4):574-594.
    Within identity control theory (ICT), identities control meaning and resources by bringing perceptions of these in the situation into alignment with references levels given in the identity standard. This article seeks to resolve three issues in ICT having to do with the source of the identity standard, the correspondence between identity standards and the identity relevant meanings perceived in the situation or environment, and the activation of identities. Classifier systems, as developed by John Holland, are inductive, flexible, rule-based, message-passing, adaptive (...)
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  41. Panayot Butchvarov (1977). Identity. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2 (1):70-89.
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  42. Clark Wade Butler (1972). A Nonmaterialistic Identity Thesis. Idealistic Studies 2 (no.):231-248.
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  43. Caroline Walker Bynum (2001). Metamorphosis and Identity. Distributed by the Mit Press.
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  44. J. D. C. (1970). Identity and Difference. Review of Metaphysics 23 (4):742-743.
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  45. Stewart Candlish (1971). The Inexplicability of Identity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 49 (1):23 – 37.
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  46. William E. Carlo (1962). The Role of Essence in Existential Metaphysics. International Philosophical Quarterly 2 (4):557-590.
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  47. Herbert Wildon Carr (1932). Persons and Things. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 13 (1):13.
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  48. M. Carrara (2002). Some Observations on the Identity of Indiscernibles. Rivista di Storia Della Filosofia 57 (1):28-45.
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  49. Massimiliano Carrara & Silvia Gaio (2012). Towards a Formal Account of Identity Criteria. In Majda Trobok Nenad Miščević & Berislav Žarnić (eds.), Between Logic and Reality. Springer. 227--242.
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  50. Massimiliano Carrara & Silvia Gaio, Approximating Identity Criteria.
    Identity criteria are used to confer ontological respectability: Only entities with clearly determined identity criteria are ontologically acceptable. From a logical point of view, identity criteria should mirror the identity relation in being reflexive, symmetrical, and transitive. However, this logical constraint is only rarely met. More precisely, in some cases, the relation representing the identity condition fails to be transitive. We consider the proposals given so far to give logical adequacy to inadequate identity conditions. We focus on the most refined (...)
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