On Identity Statements: Against the ascriptional views

Abstract
I argue against both relation-ascription views: the object-view, on which identity statements ascribe a relation borne by all objects to themselves, and the name-view, on which 'a is b' says that the names 'a' and 'b' codesignate. In philosophy since Frege, the object- and name-views are usually treated as if they exhaust the field. I make a case for treating identity statements as being sui generis. My contention is that once we do this, no analysis is required. I do not wish to insist that we stop saying that identity statements ascribe a relation. The point is that there is a fundamental disanalogy between identity statements and other two-termed statements, which we overlook to our peril. This will be seen to parallel the more recognized disanalogy between existence statements and other one-termed statements. One way of registering the fundamental disanalogy is to say that identity statements are not relational, but this is not essential. Following my negative arguments in section 2, I employ some simple diagrammatical models in section 3 to exhibit the fundamental disanalogy. In a final section, I respond to some possible objections which may be raised against this kind of approach.
Keywords identity statements  Frege's puzzle  logical form  meaning  sui generis
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