Gallois, A., occasions of identity: The metaphysics of persistence, change, and sameness (oxford: Clarendon press, 1998), pp. XIII, 296, £35.00 (cloth) [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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This is a detailed defense of the view that identity is not an eternal, necessary relation: things can be identical at one time and distinct at another; they can be identical in one world and distinct in another. The defense is judicial rather than passionate, as Gallois’s primary goal is to persuade the reader that the view is ‘at least as credible’ as its more fashionable alternatives. But Gallois also aims to show that if the view is credible then it provides a better solution to a wide range of identity puzzles (the ship of Theseus, the problem of material constitution, the puzzle of amoebic fission, and the like). As it turns out, Gallois goes a long way towards establishing the truth of this conditional claim. The real issue, however, is the credibility of the view itself, and in spite of the many sophisticated and original arguments that fill the pages of the book I suspect that many readers will not change their skeptical minds.
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