Department of Philosophy

RIP Seminar Wednesday 18 October 2017

Machicado Suite Willoughby Hall
Wednesday 18th October 2017 (15:00-17:00)

Mark Jago (University of Nottingham)

Real Contingent Identity

Are facts about numerical identity contingent? Is it ever the case that a is b, but might not have been? Or that a and b are two, but might have been one? Our two leading approaches to modal semantics – Kripkean Quantified Modal Logic and Lewisian Counterpart Theory – give opposing answers. Kripkean QML says the identity facts are necessary; counterpart theory that they are radically contingent: I could have been you, and each of us could have been a turnip. I don’t think I could have been a turnip. Being a person is essential to being me. Same for you. But do our respective essences keep us essentially apart? Or do they allow for contingency in our distinctness? In this talk, I offer a theory of real contingent identity. Contingency is not merely a matter of resemblance, as it is for Lewis, but rather a deep metaphysical notion, grounded in the essences of things.


Department of Philosophy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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