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Counterpart Theory and the Paradox of Occasional Identity

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    Rights statement: © This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Mind following peer review. The version of record, Schwarz, W. (2014). Counterpart Theory and the Paradox of Occasional Identity. Mind, 123(492), 1057-1094, is available online at: http://mind.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/doi/10.1093/mind/fzu143

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1094
Issue number492
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2014


Counterpart theory is often advertised by its track record at solving metaphysical puzzles. Here I focus on puzzles of occasional identity, wherein distinct individuals at one world or time appear to be identical at another world or time. To solve these puzzles, the usual interpretation rules of counterpart theory must be extended beyond the simple language of quantified modal logic. I present a more comprehensive semantics that allows talking about pecific times and worlds, that takes into account the multiplicity and sortal-dependence of counterpart relations, and that does not require names to denote actual or present individuals. In addition, the semantics I defend does not identify ordinary individuals with world-bound or timebound stages and thereby avoids the most controversial aspect of counterpart theory. Humphrey’s counterpart at other worlds or times is none other than Humphrey himself.

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