Quine on identity

Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 7 (1-2):1-15 (2003)
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Abstract

In a first section, we discuss Quine’s claim according to which identity is a logical notion. We point out that Quine mixes up various types of identities: trivial (or diagonal) identity, Leibniz identity, etc.; and this leads him to commit several mistakes. In a second section, we review Quine’s criticisms to various philosophers (Wittgenstein, Whitehead, Leibniz, etc.), who according to him made confusion between names and objects in defining identity. We show that in fact only Korzybski can be accused of such confusion. In a third section, we analyze the relation between identity and entity. We notice that for Quine a river is the result of the identification of river stages, but that he admits it as an entity by opposition to squareness, which according to him is a result of an identification process of higher abstraction

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