Abstract and Keywords
The topic of identity seems to many of us to be philosophically unproblematic. Identity, it is said, is the relation that each thing has to itself and to nothing else. Of course, there are many disputable claims that one can make using a predicate that expresses the identity relation. For example: there is something that was a man and is identical to God; there is something that might have been a poached egg that is identical to some philosopher. But puzzling as these claims may be, it is not the identity relation that is causing the trouble. The lesson appears to be a general one. Puzzles that are articulated using the word ‘identity’ are not puzzles about the identity relation itself. One may have noticed that our gloss on identity as ‘the relation that each thing has to itself and to nothing else’ was not really an analysis of the concept of identity in any reasonable sense of ‘analysis’, since an understanding of ‘itself’ and ‘to nothing else’ already requires a mastery of what identity amounts to.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.