Contingent and necessary identities
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Acta Analytica 19:73-98 (1997)
A new theory of identity statements is put forward which appeals to a basic distinction between two notions of identity, i.e. strict and loose identity. The former is the traditional necessary relation of an object with the object itself, whereas the latter is a contingent relation of reduction of some (at least two) possible unactual objects to a possible actual object. By appealing to strict identity, one can maintain that some tokenings of identity sentences express a semantic content which is both knowable apriori only and a necessary proposition. By appealing to loose identity instead, one can maintain that other tokenings of identity sentences express a semantic content which is both knowable a posteriori only and a contingent proposition.
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