Identity and similarity

I. Douven, L.B. Decock

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The standard approach to the so-called paradoxes of identity has been to argue that these paradoxes do not essentially concern the notion of identity but rather betray misconceptions on our part regarding other metaphysical notions, like that of an object or a property. This paper proposes a different approach by pointing to an ambiguity in the identity predicate and arguing that the concept of identity that figures in many ordinary identity claims, including those that appear in the paradoxes, is not the traditional philosophical concept but one that can be defined in terms of relevant similarity. This approach to the paradoxes will be argued to be superior to the standard one. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-78
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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