Extrinsically Determined Identity and ‘Best‐Candidate’ Theories

Penelope Mackie

in How Things Might Have Been

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199272204
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191604034 | DOI:
 Extrinsically Determined Identity and ‘Best‐Candidate’ Theories

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This chapter discusses the proposal that identities across possible worlds may be determined by ‘extrinsic’ features, and compares this with an analogous ‘best-candidate’ account of identity over time, according to which the identity of an object that exists at one time with an object that exists at another time may depend on the presence or absence of ‘competing candidates’. It argues that even if a best-candidate account of identity over time is acceptable, the ‘extrinsic determination’ account of identity across possible worlds should be rejected in favour of either a ‘bare identities’ or a counterpart-theoretic account.

Keywords: bare identities; best-candidate; extrinsic determination; identity over time; individual essence

Chapter.  3711 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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