Many-one identity

Philosophical Papers 17 (3):193-216 (1988)
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Two things become one thing, something having parts, and something becoming something else, are cases of many things being identical with one thing. This apparent contradiction introduces others concerning transitivity of identity, discernibility of identicals, existence, and vague existence. I resolve the contradictions with a theory that identity, number, and existence are relative to standards for counting. What are many on some standard are one and the same on another. The theory gives an account of the discernibility of identicals using phrases like “insofar as”. And it holds that standards for counting remain or shift depending on our purposes.

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Donald L. M. Baxter
University of Connecticut


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