Best-candidate theories and identity: Reply to Brennan

Inquiry 31 (1):79 – 85 (1988)
Abstract
This note criticizes Andrew Brennan's attempt to defend best?candidate theories of the identity of artefacts over time against certain now familiar objections. Adoption of a mereological conception of individuals does not, in itself, provide the means for a satisfactory response to objections of Wiggins and Noonan (some of which are anyway ill?focused). The way forward consists in recognizing that the consequences of best?candidate theories which have been thought objectionable (in particular, commitment to the extrinsicness of identity) do not violate the necessity of identity and imply ? what anyway ought to seem unexceptionable ? that a predicate such as ?constituting the ship which is the Ship of Theseus? does not denote a genuine property of the hunk of matter of which the predicate is true. Once these consequences have been clearly mapped out, the best?candidate theorist's commitment to the extrinsicness of identity does not appear absurd
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