A note on categorical properties and contingent identity

Journal of Philosophy 85 (12):718-722 (1988)
Abstract
Stephen Yablo has attempted recently to revive the notion of contingent identity, identifying this with a relation of L coincidence between objects that are "distinct by nature but the same in the circumstances" (296). Yablo argues convincingly for the need of essentialist metaphysics to recognize some relation of this sort, a relation of "intimate identity-like connections between things" (296) if it is to acknowledge properly the intuitive difference between (i) the nonidentity of a bust B and a hunk of wax H of which it is composed, and (ii) the nonidentity of the hunk H and the Treaty of Versailles. (i) and (ii) are clearly not on the same level. Even though B, like the Treaty of Versailles, fails to be strictly identical to H, it is very closely, and quite specially, related to it. What this relation is is certainly worth a general inquiry
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