Graduate studies at Western
Inquiry 30 (4):435 – 450 (1987)
|Abstract||This paper analyses and criticizes S. Kripke's celebrated argument against materialist identity?theories. While criticisms of Kripke in the literature attack one or more of his premisses, an attempt is made here to show that Kripke's conclusion is unjustified even if his premisses are accepted. Kripke's premisses have sufficient independent plausibility to make this strategy interesting. Having stated Kripke's argument, it is pointed out that Kripke must assume that the contents of the Cartesian intuitions are clear and of a kind suited for the type of explanation he favours, while his own result concerning contents in epistemic contexts is precisely that this might not be so when objects or events we thought distinct happen to be identical. The point is that only by assuming that the identity?theory is false, can Kripke maintain that the Cartesian intuitions express contents which can be explained in his favoured way. But such an assumption is clearly illegitimate when the aim is to establish that the identity?theory is false. Kripke cannot conclude that the identity?theory is false because no explanation of epistemic possibilities is produced, since by his own standards no such explanation can be produced if the identity?theory is true|
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