Identity and the identity-like

Philosophical Topics 20 (1):269-292 (1992)
Some relations - like supervenience and composition - can appear very much like identity. Sometimes, the relata differ only in modal, or modally-involved features. Yet, in some cases, we judge the pairs to be identical (water/H2O; Hesperus/Phosphorus), while in others, many judge one of the weaker relations to hold (c-fiber firing/pain; statues/lumps). Given the seemingly same actual properties these pairs have, what can justify us in sometimes believing identity is the relation, and sometimes something weaker? I argue that it can only be knowledge of differences of individuative criteria that we know a priori because they are built into the meanings of the words/concepts involved. Possible metaphysical conclusions are considered.
Keywords identity, supervenience, constitution, coincidence, modal epistemology
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DOI 10.5840/philtopics19922019
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Daniel Z. Korman (2016). Ordinary Objects. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Crawford L. Elder (2007). Conventionalism and the World as Bare Sense-Data. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):261 – 275.

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