Identities of Artefacts

Theoria 78 (1):47-74 (2012)
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In non-philosophical discourse, “identity” is often used when the specific character of artefacts is described or evaluated. We argue that this usage of “identity” can be explicated as referring to the symbol properties of artefacts as they are conceptualized in the symbol theory of Goodman and Elgin. This explication is backed by an analysis of various uses of “identity”. The explicandum clearly differs from the concepts of numerical identity, qualitative identity and essence, but it has a range of similarities with the notion of self-concept used in psychology and practical philosophy. The proposed explication is used to analyse claims about identity-pluralism and identity-conflicts. Firstly, the explication allows us to distinguish various ways how the same artefact can have a plurality of identities. Secondly, more or less sharp conflicts within an identity or between identities of an artefact are distinguished. Thirdly, many phenomena called “identity-conflicts” are only apparently identity-conflicts and can be analysed as involving some other form of tension



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Author Profiles

Christoph Baumberger
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
Georg Brun
University of Bern

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On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
Logical Foundations of Probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago, IL, USA: Chicago University of Chicago Press.
The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.

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