Aristotle on Identity and Persistence

Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science 41 (1):63-88 (2008)
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Abstract

In Physics 4.11, Aristotle discusses a sophistical puzzle in which "being Coriscus-in-the-Lyceum is different from being Coriscus-in-the-market-place." I take this puzzle to threaten the persistence of changing entities. Aristotle's answer to the puzzle is that the changing thing "is the same in respect of that, by (means of) being which at any time it is (what it is), S but in definition it is different." That is, Coriscus may be described as either a persisting substrate or as one or more accidental unities. Described as the former, Coriscus persists, but described as the latter, he does not.

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John Bowin
University of California, Santa Cruz

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