Chapter

Introduction

Terence Parsons

in Indeterminate Identity

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250449
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681301 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198250449.003.0001
Introduction

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Identity puzzles persist without consensus on any solution. This book explores the idea that they have no solutions because the identities are indeterminate — there is no fact of the matter about whether or not they hold. It examines four puzzles without determinate answers: (i) is a person identical with that person's body? (ii) if a ship has its parts replaced and the old parts are assembled into a ship, which of the two resulting ships is identical to the original? (iii) if a person undergoes a crucial change, is the person after the change identical with the person before the change? (iv) given a cat with imprecise boundaries, which cat-like thing with precise boundaries is identical to the actual cat? This book explores the view that there are no answers to these questions because of indeterminacy in the world.

Keywords: identity puzzles; indeterminacy; coincidence; persistence; change; ship case; person; cat

Chapter.  3730 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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