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Locke's Metaphysics$
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Matthew Stuart

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199645114

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645114.001.0001

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(p.297) 7 Identity
Locke's Metaphysics

Matthew Stuart

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores Locke's handling of questions about the identity of material objects. He puts forward several theses about things, places and times, and also offers accounts of the identities of atoms, masses and organisms. Arguments that Locke endorses four dimensionalism are shown to be without merit. Several factors, including Locke's arguments against co-location, suggest that he repudiates coincident entities and embraces the thesis that identity judgements are nominal-essence relative. Finally, the case is made that Locke's rejection of essentialism also leads him to the view that identity is relative.

Keywords:   identity, coincidence, relative identity, four dimensionalism, masses, organisms

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