On Identity Statements: In Defense of a Sui Generis View

Disputatio 8 (43):269-293 (2016)
Authors
Tristan Haze
University of Sydney
Abstract
This paper is about the meaning and function of identity statements involving proper names. There are two prominent views on this topic, according to which identity statements ascribe a relation: the object-view, on which identity statements ascribe a relation borne by all objects to themselves, and the name-view, on which an identity statement 'a is b' says that the names 'a' and 'b' codesignate. The object- and name-views may seem to exhaust the field. I make a case for treating identity statements as sui generis instead of attempting to explain them by means of the idea that they ascribe a relation. My contention is that once we do this, no analysis is required. I do not wish to insist that we stop saying that identity statements ascribe a relation. The point is that there is a fundamental disanalogy between identity statements and other two-termed statements which we overlook to our peril. This will be seen to parallel the more recognized disanalogy between existence statements and other one-termed statements. One way of registering the fundamental disanalogy is to say that identity statements are not relational, but this is not essential. Following my negative arguments in section 2, I employ some simple diagrammatical models in section 3 to exhibit the fundamental disanalogy. In a final section I respond to some possible objections which may be raised against this kind of approach.
Keywords identity statements  informative identities  numerical identity  names  Frege
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References found in this work BETA

Word and Object.W. V. Quine - 1960 - MIT Press.
On Sense and Reference.Gottlob Frege - 2010 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Arguing About Language. Routledge. pp. 36--56.

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