Chapter

The Evans Argument, Properties, and DDiff

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/9780198250449.003.0004
The Evans Argument, Properties, and DDiff

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This chapter discusses Gareth Evans's 1978 argument disproving the existence of indeterminate identity. On a simple analysis it appeals to the invalid contrapositive version of Leibniz's Law; on a deeper analysis it presumes incorrectly that the formula expresses the property of being indeterminately identical with a. The proof is an RAA of the hypothesis that that formula expresses a property. This is akin to the ‘paradoxes’ of naïve set theory, due to the fact that identity is defined in terms of global quantification over all properties. A test for whether a formula ‘?x’ expresses a worldly property is whether it satisfies the principle that joint satisfaction and dissatisfaction of the formula makes a ‘Definite Difference’ in the identity of the objects in question.

Keywords: Gareth Evans; Evans Argument; Ddiff; definite difference; Leibniz's Law contrapositive

Chapter.  4088 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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