Composition, Indiscernibility, Coreferentiality

Erkenntnis 81 (1):119-142 (2016)
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Abstract

According to strong composition as identity, the logical principles of one–one and plural identity can and should be extended to the relation between a whole and its parts. Otherwise, composition would not be legitimately regarded as an identity relation. In particular, several defenders of strong CAI have attempted to extend Leibniz’s Law to composition. However, much less attention has been paid to another, not less important feature of standard identity: a standard identity statement is true iff its terms are coreferential. We contend that, if coreferentiality is dropped, indiscernibility is no help in making composition a genuine identity relation. To this aim, we analyse as a case study Cotnoir’s theory of general identity, in which indiscernibility is obtained thanks to a revisionary semantics and true identity statements are allowed to connect non-coreferential terms. We extend Cotnoir’s strategy for indiscernibility to the relation of comaternity, and we show that, neither in the case of composition nor in that of comaternity, indiscernibility contibutes to show that they are genuine identity relations. Finally, we compare Cotnoir’s approach with other versions of strong CAI endorsed by Wallace, Bøhn, and Hovda, and canvass the extent to which they violate coreferentiality. The comparative analysis shows that, in order to preserve coreferentiality, strong CAI is forced to adopt a non-standard semantic treatment of the singular/plural distinction

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Author Profiles

Massimiliano Carrara
University of Padua
Giorgio Lando
Università degli Studi dell'Aquila

References found in this work

Parts of Classes.David K. Lewis - 1991 - Mind 100 (3):394-397.
Plural Logic.Alex Oliver & Timothy Smiley - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press UK.
The Identity of Indiscernibles.Max Black - 1952 - Mind 61 (242):153-164.
Plural Predication.Thomas McKay - 2006 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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