Thomas Hobbes and Thomas White on Identity and Discontinuous Existence

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (3):429-454 (2021)
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Abstract

Is it possible for an individual that has gone out of being to come back into being again? The English Aristotelian, Thomas White, argued that it is not. Thomas Hobbes disagreed, and used the case of the Ship of Theseus to argue that individuals that have gone out of being may come back into being again. This paper provides the first systematic account of their arguments. It is doubtful that Hobbes has a consistent case against White. Still his criticism may have prompted White to clarify his views on identity over time in his later work.

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Han Thomas Adriaenssen
University of Groningen

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