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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 2, 1999

Metaphysics

Roger Wertheimer
Pages 171-186

Identity Syntax

Like ‘&’, ‘=’ is no term; it represents no extrasentential property. It marks an atomic, nonpredicative, declarative structure, sentences true solely by codesignation. Identity (its necessity and total reflexivity, its substitution rule, its metaphysical vacuity) is the objectual face of codesignation. The syntax demands pure reference, without predicative import for the asserted fact. ‘Twain is Clemens’ is about Twain, but nothing is predicated of him. Its informational value is in its ‘metailed’ semantic content: the fact of codesignation (that ‘Twain’ names Clemens) that explains what fact it asserts and why it is necessary. Critques of concepts of rigidity and elimination of singular terms result.

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