Identity

Edited by Chad Carmichael (Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis)
About this topic
Summary

Identity is sameness: the relation that holds between each thing and itself, and never holds between two things. Most philosophical issues about identity concern the relationship between identity and other important concepts: time, necessity, personhood, composition (parthood), indiscernibility, and vagueness. In addition to these issues, some have suggested that identity is not absolute, but relative, so that we may say two things are the same person or statue, but not the same simpliciter. Finally, there are questions about whether there must always be informative criteria of identity that settle questions about when identity holds or fails to hold.

Key works

Quine 1950 is a classic piece that treats several of the issues mentioned above. For the relationship between identity and modality, see Kripke 19711980, and Gibbard 1975. On the identity of indiscernibles, see Black 1952 and Adams 1979. Baxter 1988 and Lewis 1990 defend versions of the thesis of composition as identity. See van Inwagen 1994 for a critique. Evans 1978 argues against vague identity. See Stalnaker 1988 and Parsons & Woodruff 1995 for replies. On relative identity, see Geach 1967, Geach 1980, and Perry 1970.

Introductions See the Stanford Encyclopedia piece on Identity Noonan & Curtis 2022 for a nice overview of nearly all of these topics. Hawthorne 2003 has an excellent discussion of several of these issues as well. Many of the papers listed above are collected in Kim et al 2011.

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1546 found
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  1. Bleeding Fingers: An Existentialist Lament Regarding Technological Evolution.A. Zachman - manuscript
    As a member of the so-demarcated 'Generation Z,' I have been blessed/damned with a front-row seat to the technological evolution kicked off by the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020, and have succeeded to varying degrees in recognizing its effects and responding to them with the efficiency and care that my neurological soul deserves. Jean-Paul Sartre's conception of bad faith provides an excellent scalpel for the dissection of such a quasi-biological progression, and in this paper I analyze the third dimension of bad (...)
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  2. Consciousness, Time, and Scepticism in Hume's Thought.Lorne Falkenstein - 2024 - New York: Routledge.
    David Hume’s philosophical work presents the reader with a perplexing mix of constructive accounts of empirically guided belief and destructive sceptical arguments against all belief. This book reconciles this conflict by showing that Hume intended his scepticism to be remedial. It immunizes us against the influence of “unphilosophical” causes of belief, determining us to proportion our beliefs to the evidence. In making this case, this book develops Humean positions on topics Hume did not discuss in detail but that are of (...)
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  3. One-to-One Fellow-Feeling, Universal Identification and Oneness, and Group Solidarities.Lawrence Blum - 2018 - In Philip J. Ivanhoe, Owen Flanagan, Victoria S. Harrison, Hagop Sarkissian & Eric Schwitzgebel (eds.), The Oneness Hypothesis: Beyond the Boundary of Self. New York, NY, USA: Columbia University Press. pp. 106-119.
    Unusual among Western philosophers, Schopenhauer explicitly drew on Hindu and especially Buddhist traditions inhis moral philosophy. He saw plurality, especially the plurality of human persons, as a kind of illusion; in reality all is one, and compassionate acts express an implicit recognition of this oneness. Max Scheler retains the transcendence of self aspect of compassion but emphasizes that the subject must have a clear, lived sense of herself as a distinct individual in order for that transcendence to take place properly. (...)
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  4. ULTA-AI.Ilexa Yardley - 2024 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory/.
    Beyond current existential technology: intelligent anarchy and the cogent explanation for, what humans identify as, ‘representation.’ And, therefore, materialization and identification (interpretation, intention, attention).
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  5. How It All Depends: A Contemporary Reconstruction of Huayan Buddhism.Li Kang - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of Chinese Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Few would deny that something ontologically depends on something else. Given that something depends on something, what depends on what? Huayan Buddhism 華嚴宗, a prominent Chinese Buddhist school, is known for its extensive thesis of interdependence, according to which everything depends on everything else. This intriguing thesis is entangled with seemingly paradoxical claims that everything is not only identified with everything else but also contained within it. Moreover, the radical thesis of interdependence entails that dependence is pervasive and symmetric. In (...)
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  6. The essence of the mental.Ray Buchanan & Alex Grzankowski - 2023 - European Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):1061-1072.
    Your belief that Obama is a Democrat would not be the belief that it is if it did not represent Obama, nor would the pain in your ankle be the state that it is if, say, it felt like an itch. Accordingly, it is tempting to hold that phenomenal and representational properties are essential to the mental states that have them. But, as several theorists have forcefully argued (including Kripke (1980) and Burge (1979, 1982)) this attractive idea is seemingly in (...)
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  7. Singularitas dan Identitas dalam Cerpen “Aroma Tanah Moncongloe”.Wahyu Gandi G. - 2022 - Jentera: Jurnal Kajian Sastra 11 (2):306-317.
    This study aims to uncover the praxis of singularity and self-identity (kedirian) as presented in a short story titled Aroma Tanah Moncongloe (ATM). This research uses a descriptive-qualitative method by applying the post-marxist perspective by Antonio Negri and Jean-Luc Nancy. The results signified that there is a labeling of identity constructed by the state as a form of uniformity that is in line with the empire or external power. This uniformity can be seen from the identity of former political prisoners (...)
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  8. Grounding identity in existence facts: A reply to Wilhelm.Neil Mehta - 2023 - Analysis 83 (3):500-506.
    What grounds facts of the form? One promising answer is: facts of the form. A different promising answer is: x itself. Isaac Wilhelm has recently argued that the second answer is superior to the first. In this paper, I rebut his argument.
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  9. The Ontological Negativity of Sexual Difference.James Sares - 2023 - In Mary C. Rawlinson & James Sares (eds.), What Is Sexual Difference?: Thinking with Irigaray. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 17-38.
    This chapter develops an argument for the ontological significance of sexual difference through Irigaray’s account of “the negative.” Reading Irigaray with Hegel’s logical analysis of finitude as a negative self-reference, or in terms of the dependence of identity on difference, I consider how this ontological negativity functions in two senses: first, in terms of a generational negativity, whereby sexuate beings rely on this difference as their own copulative condition of possibility; and second, in terms of a more general negative self-relation (...)
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  10. Liberal Nationalism for Israel: Towards an Israeli National Identity (Review). [REVIEW]Robert Elliott Allinson - 2002 - Iyyun 51:81-84.
  11. The Identity of a Word.Roger Teichmann - 2016 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 90 (2):317-335.
    What is it for the same word or expression (written, spoken, or otherwise produced) to occur in two different contexts? One is inclined to say that the word “rat” does not occur in “Socrates loved Plato,” but it is harder to justify this statement than might be thought. This issue lies in the midst of a tangle of issues, a number of which are investigated in an important but little-discussed article of Anscombe’s, in which she considers the question whether the (...)
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  12. Persistence and Reidentification in Systems of Identical Quantum Particles: Towards a Post-Atomistic Conception of Matter.Philip Goyal - manuscript
    The quantum symmetrization procedure that is used to handle systems of identical quantum particles brings into question whether the elementary constituents of matter, such as electrons, have the fundamental characteristics of persistence and reidentifiability that are attributed to classical particles. However, we presently lack a coherent conception of matter composed of entities that do not possess one or both of these fundamental characteristics. We also lack a clear a priori understanding of why systems of identical particles (as opposed to non-identical (...)
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  13. Identity in Fiction.Seahwa Kim - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Ideas 56:239-254.
    In this paper, I present a very interesting observation about identity in fiction. I call it the phenomenon of identity without interchangeability. It is the phenomenon that two names that have the same referent cannot be used interchangeably in some context. I argue that the phenomenon of identity without interchangeability holds in the dream context, the fictional context in a narrow sense, and the fictional context in an extended sense. I then show one application of the phenomenon in defending Kendall (...)
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  14. Intersectional Feminist Theory as a Non-Ideal Theory: Asian American Women Navigating Identity and Power.Youjin Kong - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9 (33):848-877.
    This paper develops an account of intersectional feminist theory by critically examining the notion of identity implicitly assumed in major critiques of intersectionality. Critics take intersectionality to fragment women along the lines of identity categories such as race, class, and sexuality. Underlying this interpretation, I argue, is the metaphysical assumption that identity is a fixed entity. This is a misunderstanding of identity that neglects how identity is actually lived. By exploring how Asian American women experience their “Asian” identity in their (...)
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  15. Functionalism, Reductionism, and Levels of Reality.Lorenzo Lorenzetti - 2023 - Philosophy of Science:1-26.
    I consider a problem for functional reductionism, based on the following tension. Say that b is functionally reduced to a. On the one hand, a and b turn out to be identical, and identity is a symmetric relation. On the other hand, functional reductionism implies that a and b are asymmetrically related: if b is functionally reduced to a, then a is not functionally reduced to b. Thus, we ask: how can a and b be asymmetrically related if they are (...)
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  16. Digital Reconfigurations of Collective Identity on Twitter: A Narrative Approach.Anthony Longo - 2023 - Techné Research in Philosophy and Technology 27 (1):350-373.
    Digital technology has prompted philosophers to rethink some of the fundamental categories we use to make sense of the world and ourselves. Particularly, the concept of ‘identity’ and its reconfiguration in the digital age has sparked much debate in this regard. While many studies have addressed the impact of the digital on personal and social identities, the concept of ‘collective identity’ has been remarkably absent in such inquiries. In this article, I take the context of social movements as an entry (...)
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  17. Istovjetnost riječi.J. T. M. Miller - 2022 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 18 (2):2-26.
    Although the metaphysics of words remains a relatively understudied domain, one of the more discussed topics has been the question of how to account for the apparent sameness of words. Put one way, the question concerns what it is that makes two word- instances (or tokens) instances of the same word. In this paper, I argue that the existing solutions to the problems all fail as they take the problem of sameness of word to be a problem about how one (...)
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  18. Acts and Embodiment.Kit Fine - 2022 - Metaphysics 5 (1):14–28.
    The theory of embodiment is used in providing an account of the identity of acts and in providing solutions to various puzzles concerning acts.
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  19. Space and Language in Conceptualizing Identity.Branimir Vukosav & Marijana Kresić Vukosav - 2022 - Topoi 41 (3):471-482.
    In this paper, we discuss the conceptualization of space as a dimension relevant to personal identity and the central role that is attributed to language with respect to its constitution. It is argued that the identification with a certain geographical space and the use of certain language or linguistic variety can be regarded as crucial for the self-definition of individuals and also groups. We pursue a threefold goal: to highlight the contribution of geographical research to our understanding of the self (...)
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  20. From probabilistic topologies to Feynman diagrams: Hans Reichenbach on time, genidentity, and quantum physics.Michael Stöltzner - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-26.
    Hans Reichenbach’s posthumous book The Direction of Time ends somewhere between Socratic aporia and historical irony. Prompted by Feynman’s diagrammatic formulation of quantum electrodynamics, Reichenbach eventually abandoned the delicate balancing between the macroscopic foundation of the direction of time and microscopic descriptions of time order undertaken throughout the previous chapters in favor of an exclusively macroscopic theory that he had vehemently rejected in the 1920s. I analyze Reichenbach’s reasoning against the backdrop of the history of Feynman diagrams and the current (...)
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  21. The Information Economy.Ilexa Yardley - 2022 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory.
    Everything in a human 'universe' (a human mind) depends upon finance. This is because finance is the tokenization, and, therefore, the conservation (the representation) of an uber-basic circle. One zero and (or) one one produces an unlimited number (variation) (combination) of zeroes and ones. Which is exactly what is happening in all disciplines (philosophy, physics, psychology, biology, technology, media).
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  22. Mereology and The 'Singularity'.Ilexa Yardley - 2022 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory/.
    There is a conserved circular-linear relationship between an individual and a group (a part and a whole) (half and whole) (whole and half). Explaining mereology and producing the 'singularity' (a universal theory of everything, all disciplines) (which may be impossible for humans to accept).
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  23. Why Mathematics Can Never Explain Reality.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory/.
    Why Mathematics Can Never ‘Explain’ Reality: Well, for one thing, as everybody knows, there is no ‘Reality.’ All symbolic systems require the conservation of a circle, which is the core, and, thus, the only, dynamic in Nature. It is not possible to have X without Y (X without one other X) because it is not possible to have a circumference (a zero) without a diameter (a one). So, this proves the token for 'tokenization' that is necessary for general relativity (more (...)
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  24. IOP: Get it Straight.Ilexa Yardley - 2022 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory.
    IOP is, always, the tokenization of a naturally conserved circle. Meaning no information, no reality, no nothing. Observation always gets us the wrong answer (no such thing as a question, technically) (all questions are already answered) (the human imagines there are problems to solve) (because solving problems conserves an already-conserved circle) (everything is already 'answered') (else how could we ascertain the 'correct' answer?). Tokenization may appear as a transformation. But digging deeper we can observe (when we're ready) there is no (...)
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  25. The ‘Truth’ About ‘God’.Ilexa Yardley - 2019 - Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory.
    I am. He is. She is. The basis for man's relationship to a singularity in Nature. Identification and representation (tokenization).
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  26. The Universal System Architecture of Nature.Ilexa Yardley - 2022 - Intelligent Design Center.
    The conservation of a circle produces the universal system architecture of Nature, and, therefore, the architecture for a quantum information system. There is a mandatory circle (a circular-linear relationship) between mind and matter (abstract and concrete 'reality') explaining (and exposing) both (you need both in order to have either) (complementarity is required (another word) for 'identity').
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  27. Artworks, Objects and Structures.Sherri Irvin - 2012 - In Anna Christina Ribeiro (ed.), Continuum Companion to Aesthetics. Continuum. pp. 55-73.
    This essay examines the difficulties faced by the claim that artworks are simple physical objects (or, in the case of non-visual art forms, simple structures of another sort) and examines alternative proposals regarding their ontological nature.
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  28. Museums and the Shaping of Contemporary Artworks.Sherri Irvin - 2006 - Museum Management and Curatorship 21:143-156.
    In the museum context, curators and conservators often play a role in shaping the nature of contemporary artworks. Before, during and after the acquisition of an art object, curators and conservators engage in dialogue with the artist about how the object should be exhibited and conserved. As a part of this dialogue, the artist may express specifications for the display and conservation of the object, thereby fixing characteristics of the artwork that were previously left open. This process can make a (...)
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  29. A Primer on Bartlett's CRITIQUE OF IMPURE REASON.Steven James Bartlett - 2021 - Willamette Univesity Faculty Research Website.
    This is a primer on Steven James Bartlett's book CRITIQUE OF IMPURE REASON: HORIZONS OF POSSIBILITY AND MEANING. ●●●●● -/- Some books are long and complex. The Critique of Impure Reason is such a book. It is long enough and complex enough so that it may be a service to some readers to offer a primer to introduce and partially summarize the book’s objectives and method. Here, the author of Critique of Impure Reason: Horizons of Possibility and Meaning provides such (...)
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  30. Classicism.Andrew Bacon & Cian Dorr - 2024 - In Peter Fritz & Nicholas K. Jones (eds.), Higher-Order Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-190.
    This three-part chapter explores a higher-order logic we call ‘Classicism’, which extends a minimal classical higher-order logic with further axioms which guarantee that provable coextensiveness is sufficient for identity. The first part presents several different ways of axiomatizing this theory and makes the case for its naturalness. The second part discusses two kinds of extensions of Classicism: some which take the view in the direction of coarseness of grain (whose endpoint is the maximally coarse-grained view that coextensiveness is sufficient for (...)
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  31. Higher‐order metaphysics.Lukas Skiba - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (10):1-11.
    Subverting a once widely held Quinean paradigm, there is a growing consensus among philosophers of logic that higher-order quantifiers (which bind variables in the syntactic position of predicates and sentences) are a perfectly legitimate and useful instrument in the logico-philosophical toolbox, while neither being reducible to nor fully explicable in terms of first-order quantifiers (which bind variables in singular term position). This article discusses the impact of this quantificational paradigm shift on metaphysics, focussing on theories of properties, propositions, and identity, (...)
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  32. Quantum Reality.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory.
    Reality at any scale (a singularity of singularities) involves the conservation of a circle. This is because zero and one (modern) (yin and yang) (ancient) are, technically, and, thus 'realistically' (literally), circumference and diameter. This means we are, always, tokenizing space, explaining 'the matrix,' 'information,' 'information systems,' and algorithms (mathematics and technology). This is because, what humans label, 'mind' and 'matter,' like any X and X (X and Y) (X and X') articulate, and, thus, conserve an always-present (totally prescient) circular-linear (...)
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  33. Persistence as a Four-Dimensionalist: Perdurantism vs. Exdurantism.Richard Callais - 2021 - Dialogue 64 (1):24-29.
    The debate over persistence currently involves three competing theories—one three-dimensionalist theory called “endurantism” and two four-dimensionalist theories called “perdurantism” and “exdurantism.” This inner debate between the latter two persistence theories is what I aim to clarify, and ultimately, I argue that perdurantism is superior to exdurantism because exdurantism is too extravagant in counting ordinary objects in the world. Extravagant for the reason that objects in their entirety are bound to their momentary stages, and there is practically an interminable number of (...)
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  34. The Cryptic Universe.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory.
    Technology is answering our deepest questions about ‘reality.’ This is because Nature continually tokenizes an underlying, omnipresent, continually conserved, circular-linear relationship. Thus, zero and one (modern) is yin and yang (ancient) tying modern and ancient ideas about 'reality' together, and proving tokenization produces a cryptic 'reality.' Explaining science, and the 'search' for answers (perpetually).
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  35. Mortal Objects: Identity and Persistence Through Life and Death.Steven Luper - 2022 - New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
    How might we change ourselves without ending our existence? What could we become, if we had access to an advanced form of bioengineering that allowed us dramatically to alter our genome? Could we remain in existence after ceasing to be alive? What is it to be human? Might we still exist after changing ourselves into something that is not human? What is the significance of human extinction? Steven Luper addresses these questions and more in this thought-provoking study. He defends an (...)
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  36. How to deal with the puzzle of coincident objects.Ataollah Hashemi - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Alberta
    The grounding problem is related to the puzzle of numerically distinct spatiotemporally coincident objects. Suppose Lumpl –a lump of clay– and Goliath – the statue – are created and later destroyed, simultaneously. They would share all of their physical and spatiotemporal properties and relations. But, Goliath and Lumpl have different modal and sortal properties, which would suggest they are distinct entities, while at the same time entirely co-located. This issue creates a puzzle and raises the question of how two distinct (...)
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  37. Why Crypto-Everything is Here to Stay.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory/.
  38. Biomemetics: The Tokenization of Reality.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Intelligent Design Center.
    The integration of biomimetics and memetics produces non-fungible tokens. Proving the Conservation of a Circle is the core, and, thus the only, dynamic in Nature, resulting in the tokenization of reality. Explaining the notion of 'self.' Across all disciplines.
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  39. Tokenization: The Key to Philosophy, Physics, and Psychology.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory.
    Zero and one are the circumference and diameter of an always-conserved circle. Explaining everything in philosophy, physics, and psychology. This produces a completely tokenized 'reality' with important implications for governmental and financial systems. As is, already, happening, in the exploding 'world' of NFT ('crypto' 'currency' in general) based on the statement and the diagram, and the notion of identity (knowledge as power).
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  40. Mind: Not (in) the Brain.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory/.
    X and X articulate, and, therefore, conserve, an uber-simple, circle. Providing the background (and the foreground) for everything (Nature) (reality).
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  41. The Tokenization of 'Reality'.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory.
    How do ‘virtual intelligence’ and ‘artificial reality’ intersect. Think: Foucault, Deleuze, Nietzsche. And, NFT.
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  42. Duality.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory/.
  43. The Counteridentical Account of Explanatory Identities.Isaac Wilhelm - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (2):57-78.
    Many explanations rely on identity facts. In this paper, I propose an account of how identity facts explain: roughly, the fact that A is identical to B explains another fact whenever that other fact depends, counterfactually, on A being identical to B. As I show, this account has many virtues. It avoids several problems facing accounts of explanatory identities, and when precisified using structural equations, it can be used to defend interventionist accounts of causation against an objection.
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  44. Generalized Identity, Zero-Ground, and Necessity.Yannic Kappes - manuscript
    This paper offers a modification of Fabrice Correia's and Alexander Skiles' ("Grounding, Essence, and Identity") definition of grounding in terms of generalized identity that extends it to zero-grounding. This definition promises to improve our understanding of zero-grounding by capturing it within the framework of generalized identity and allows an essentialist theory of modality based on Correia's and Skiles' account to resist a recent challenge by Jessica Leech. The latter is achieved by combining the following two ideas: (1) Some necessities are (...)
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  45. The Importance of 'Unitization'.Ilexa Yardley - 2010 - In The Circular Theory. Integrated Thought Concepts.
    Conservation of a circle is the basis for unification (and, also, then, 'unitization'). Explaining and unifying physics, philosophy, and psychology. All disciplines.
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  46. Configuration Symmetry.Ilexa Yardley - 2018 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory/.
  47. The Billionaire.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory/.
    Zero and one. Circumference and diameter. Intelligent anarchy. Explanation for abstraction (as a noun) (as a verb).
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  48. Conservation of the Circle and The Circular Theory.Yardley Ilexa - 2002 - In The Tanglewood Trilogy. Houston, Texas: Opposite Approach Publications.
  49. What does Faith Exclude? Catholic Hegemony and the Construction of Ilustrado Nationalism.Michael Roland Hernandez - 2015 - Filocracia: An Online Journal of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Study 2 (1):34-46.
    This paper traces the conceptual resources of Philippine ilustrado nationalism in the specific concept of Filipino identity given by Father Jose Burgos in his acclaimed Manifiesto. It argues that the racial and social exclusivism essential to ilustrado nationalist ideology can be traced to the essentially religious character of Burgos' anti-friar polemic. By tracing this essential connection between Filipino identity and Catholicity, we are reminded of the dangers connected with the emancipatory promises ushered by nativist and ethnocentric thinking.
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  50. Modal Meinongianism and Object Theory.Francesco Berto, Filippo Casati, Naoya Fujikawa & Graham Priest - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Logic 17 (1):1-21.
    We reply to various arguments by Otavio Bueno and Edward Zalta (‘Object Theory and Modal Meinongianism’) against Modal Meinongianism, including that it presupposes, but cannot maintain, a unique denotation for names of fictional characters, and that it is not generalizable to higher-order objects. We individuate the crucial difference between Modal Meinongianism and Object Theory in the former’s resorting to an apparatus of worlds, possible and impossible, for the representational purposes for which the latter resorts to a distinction between two kinds (...)
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