Alternatives to Indeterminate Identity

Terence Parsons

in Indeterminate Identity

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250449
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681301 | DOI:
Alternatives to Indeterminate Identity

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This chapter examines the proposal that all indeterminacy of identity is an illusion based on semantic indeterminacy. Many writers believe that it is both possible and desirable to account for the lack of truth-value of identity sentences by appeal to indeterminacy in the semantics of language or of the concepts employed by language. The discussion shows that several natural accounts of this sort do not yield a lack of truth-value in the puzzle cases without also wrongly yielding lack of truth-value in other cases as well. The first account employs supervaluations to analyse indeterminacy in singular term. A second account is based loosely on a discussion by Lewis of how many cats exist in a given region. The last account is due to Stalnaker, according to which one refines concepts upon demand when faced with puzzle cases.

Keywords: identity predicate; indefinite concepts; identity puzzles; singular terms; Lewis; Stalnaker

Chapter.  8831 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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