Identity and Essence

Identity and Essence

Baruch A. Brody
Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Identity and Essence
    Book Description:

    Baruch Brody contends that the fundamental assumption on which the tradition is based is erroneous and that once this assumption is shown to be in error, all philosophical problems in this area have to be rethought.

    Originally published in 1980.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5334-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
    (pp. 3-23)

    Problems concerning identity have been extensively discussed in the history of philosophy at least since Heraclitus worried about how anything could persist through change. In some cases, there has emerged something of a consensus. It is widely believed, for example, that spatiotemporal continuity is a necessary and sufficient condition for the identity of physical objects.¹ In other cases, there is an ongoing debate about the conditions for identity. Thus, philosophers are continuing the long-standing debate as to whether personal identity should be analyzed in terms of the identity of the relevant bodies or in terms of some sort of continuity...

    (pp. 24-42)

    Chapter One defended the view that the identity of indiscernibles could serve as the basis of a general account of identity, one that provides necessary and sufficient conditions for the identity of any objectsaandb, no matter of what type and no matter when they exist. It was shown at the end of that chapter, however, that this view presupposed that “identity” was being defined in a language that contained both the machinery of second-order logic and names for enduring objects. It was also suggested that if one was trying to define “identity” in a weaker language, a...

    (pp. 43-70)

    The first two chapters have defended an approach to the theory of identity that can be summarized as follows: the enduring objects that we perceive and of which we think can and should be taken as fundamental in an ontology. For all such objects, indiscernibility (understood in a sufficiently broad fashion) is both a necessary and sufficient condition for identity. This is a perfectly general condition for identity, and involves no conditions that vary according to the type of object involved.

    This approach has significant implications for a variety of philosophical claims involving identity. This chapter will consider a variety...

    (pp. 71-83)

    The theory of identity that we have presented and defended in the first part of this book is extremely powerful. In this second part of the book, we shall argue that it is nevertheless incomplete, and that its incompleteness follows from its failure to take into account the implications of an important Aristotelean distinction.

    This chapter will begin with a presentation and defense of this Aristotelean distinction. It will then explain why the acceptance of this distinction leads to the recognition that our theory of identity is incomplete. It will also be shown that the acceptance of this distinction gives...

    (pp. 84-134)

    In 4.2, we saw in a very preliminary fashion that our Aristotelean theory of change gives rise to a distinction between the essential and accidental properties of an object. We shall, in this chapter, look at the generated distinction more carefully. Before doing so, however, it may be helpful if we were to say something in a preliminary way about the intuitive idea behind the distinction, and the problems it faces.

    What is the basic idea behind the claim that there is a distinction between the properties that an object has essentially and the properties that an object has accidentally?...

    (pp. 135-156)

    Our final account in Chapter Five was that ⌜ahas propertyPessentially⌝ means ⌜ahasP,ahas always hadP, there is no possible past in whichaexists withoutP, and there is no moment of time at whichahas hadPand at which there is a possible future in whichaexists withoutP.⌝ Of these four conditions that must hold ifais to havePessentially, the first two seem to pose no special epistemological problems. The third and fourth conditions are different, and those who have epistemological doubts about essentialism will...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 157-162)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 163-164)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 165-165)