The philosophical problem of identity and the related problem of change go back to the ancient Greek philosophers and fascinated later figures including Leibniz, Locke, and Hume. Heraclitus argued that one could not swim in the same river twice because new waters were ever flowing in. When is a river not the same river? If one removes one plank at a time when is a ship no longer a ship? What is the basic nature of identity and persistence?
In this book, Andre Gallois introduces and assesses the philosophical puzzles posed by things persisting through time. Beginning with essential historical background to the problem he explores the following key topics and debates:
mereology and identity, including arguments from 'Leibniz's Law'
the constitution view of identity
the 'relative identity' argument concerning identity
four-dimensionalism, counterpart and multiple counterpart theory
the problem of temporary intrinsics
the necessity of identity
criteria of identity
conventionalism about identity.
Including chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary, this book is essential reading for anyone seeking a clear and informative introduction to and assessment of the metaphysics of identity.
Andre Gallois is Professor of Philosophy at Syracuse University, USA. His previous publications on issues about identity and persistence include his book Occasions of Identity (OUP, 1998).
1. Introduction 2. Historical Background 3. The Puzzles of Persistence 4. Endurantist Solutions to the Puzzle Cases Part 1 5. Endurantist Solutions to the Puzzle Cases Part 2 6. A Four-dimensional World 7. Identity Criteria, Conventionalism and the Problem of Change. Glossary Bibliography Index