Instantiation is not partial identity

Philosophical Studies 163 (3):697-715 (2013)
In order to avoid the problems faced by standard realist analyses of the “relation” of instantiation, Baxter and, following him, Armstrong each analyze the instantiation of a universal by a particular in terms of their partial identity. I introduce two related conceptions of partial identity, one mereological and one non-mereological, both of which require at least one of the relata of the partial identity “relation” to be complex. I then introduce a second non-mereological conception of partial identity, which allows for both relata to be simple. I take these three conceptions to exhaust the plausible ways of construing two entities as being partially identical. I then argue that there is no analysis (including those offered by Baxter and Armstrong) of a universal and a particular as being partially identical consistent with any of these three conceptions that (i) is coherent, (ii) is consistently realist, (iii) does not lead to absurd consequences, and (iv) offers a “solution” to the problem of instantiation that avoids the problems with the other standard realist responses. In so arguing, I offer a criticism of the analysis of instantiation as partial identity that is independent of the standard criticism that it entails the necessity of predication
Keywords Instantiation  Partial identity  Universals  Realism
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References found in this work BETA
D. M. Armstrong (1993). A World of States of Affairs. Philosophical Perspectives 7 (3):429-440.
David Armstrong (2005). Reply to Simons and Mumford. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):271 – 276.
Donald L. M. Baxter (2001). Instantiation as Partial Identity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (4):449 – 464.

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